To Lead is to Serve…Characteristics of a Servant Leader – Part 3

Welcome to the fourth blog in our Servant Leadership blog series, To Lead is To Serve! The first three blogs in this series can be found here, here, and here.

In our last post we explored two skills that set servant leaders apart: listening and empathy. As a reminder, Larry Spears developed a list of ten characteristics of servant leaders based on the writings of Robert Greenleaf: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of others, and building community. Today we will explore three more characteristics that servant leaders possess: healing, awareness, and persuasion.

3. Healing

Servant leaders recognize and acknowledge the brokenness that exists in the world. You feel called to “help make whole” those with whom you come in contact.

4. Awareness

As a servant leader, you have a deep self-awareness and are committed to coming to a better understanding of yourself. You know that this process is often difficult and can lead to intense discoveries that will challenge you, yet you embrace these opportunities to deepen your knowledge of who you are and how you can lead most effectively. Robert Greenleaf shares, “Awareness is not a giver of solace – it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener.”

Further, you are aware of what’s going on around you. You pay attention and remain attuned to what is happening in the lives of those who follow you. When someone is struggling, you don’t have to be told; you already know.

5. Persuasion

Servant leaders possess a keen ability to persuade. You seek to build consensus rather than asserting your power to get your way. While positional leaders at times use coercion, servant leaders are deeply committed to a more inclusive decision-making process where each member of the group is heard and valued.

Reflection Questions:
  • Where is healing needed in your own life?
  • When have you encountered someone in need of healing and taken the time to be present?
  • What actions are you taking to develop a deeper understanding of yourself?
  • When have you exhibited a lack of awareness about what is happening in the lives of those who follow you?
  • In what ways do you seek to build consensus?
  • How often do you use coercion instead of persuasion?
Stay tuned for the remaining blogs in our “To Lead is To Serve” series, where we will explore the remaining five characteristics of servant leaders.

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