To Lead is to Serve…Characteristics of a Servant Leader – Part 4

Welcome to the fifth blog in our Servant Leadership blog series, To Lead is To Serve! The first four blogs in this series are listed below:

  1. To Lead is to Serve…A Leadership Mantra
  2. To Lead is to Serve…Characteristics of a Servant Leader – Part 1
  3. To Lead is to Serve…Characteristics of a Servant Leader – Part 2
  4. To Lead is to Serve…Characteristics of a Servant Leader – Part 3
In our previous posts, we’ve explored five skills that set servant leaders apart: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, and persuasion. As a refresher, we are reviewing the ten characteristics of servant leaders developed by Larry Spears based on the writings of Robert Greenleaf. Today we will explore three more characteristics that servant leaders possess: conceptualization, foresight, stewardship.

6. Conceptualization

As a servant leader, you recognize the importance of dreaming, of envisioning what’s possible. You can think “outside the box,” without letting reality get in the way of your creative thinking. This makes me think of one of the mantras of my alma mater, St. Edward’s University, where I also teach in the School of Management and Business: “Learn to think.” We strive to ensure that our students learn to think critically and creatively and dare to act, all characteristics of servant leadership as outlined by Larry Spears and Robert Greenleaf.

Further, as a servant leader you understand the delicate balance between conceptual thinking and practical application, which I often refer to as the struggle between knowing and doing.

7. Foresight

Larry Spears defined foresight as the ability to “understand the lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision for the future.” As a servant leader, you carefully think about decisions with a focus on identifying the results of your actions on others. Foresight is deeply connected with intuition.

8. Stewardship

You understand your responsibility to serve others. You don’t serve out of duty; your service is a conscious choice that arises from empathy and an awareness of the needs of others. I see stewardship as a recognition of the tremendous blessing of giving generously of my time and talent and sharing my treasure joyfully with organizations that make a difference in areas that align with my life’s purpose.

Reflection Questions:
  • What are your dreams? What do your future hold?
  • As a manager, are you able to think beyond the day-to-day realities?
  • What have you learned from the past and how do you apply that knowledge in your daily decision making?
  • When have you utilized foresight in your life? What was the result?
  • Am I good steward of the gifts I’ve been given?
  • In what ways am I sharing my time, talent, and treasure with others? How does this align with my life’s purpose?
Stay tuned for the remaining blogs in our “To Lead is To Serve” series, where we will explore the remaining two characteristics of servant leaders.

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