Grateful and impressed would be an understatement

By Todd Wolfenbarger via   Article

Why Leaders Should View Themselves as Servants

“Twenty years ago, I received a unique gift. This gift impacted my career by introducing me to a servant leadership model I’ve tried to emulate since.

I was living in Seattle and had taken off for Christmas Eve. It was a typical December afternoon in the Northwest — cold and rainy — and I was out on my front porch with my young daughter, sprinkling homemade magical glitter oats along the path for Santa’s reindeer that night. My little girl was loving the adventure, and so was I.

Amid our fun, I looked up as an unknown SUV pulled into our driveway. To my surprise and mild discomfort, my boss — our company’s CEO — got out of the car. After exchanging greetings, he knelt next to my daughter and asked, ‘What does your daddy want for Christmas?’ Taylor said, ‘He wants a bike.’ My boss smiled, opened the back of his SUV and pulled out a mountain bike with a bow on it.

He had called my wife in the weeks before (as he had with all of his direct reports) and asked her if there was a Christmas gift — something I really wanted — that he could get for me. To say I was grateful and impressed would be an understatement.

In the years since, I’ve duplicated his efforts with my own team and have received similar sentiments in return. As much as my team appreciated the experience, though, I found that I loved the style of leadership even more.

The term ‘servant leader’ was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in a 1970 essay, and it describes leaders who seek to serve first, accepting that true leadership will be the result. As the years have gone by, I’ve become convinced of this approach. I believe in the concept because I’ve experienced its effectiveness from both sides of the equation.

Looking to try the approach for yourself? Here are four quick ways to begin: ….”


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