It is always interesting to be in a conversation with people who are committed to bringing Servant Leadership to life. If you aren’t part of the JHB Servant Leadership Meetup’s, please join us at our next one (June 19th). 

Today was a blend of old faces and some new voices which made for a good blend of theory & practical experience – and some profound realisations. 

The conversation was more around the practical aspects of being a servant leader and the question we ended with was around what is stopping us ? We know the theory but still we seem to be trapped by what ? The system ? The fear of loosing a job and salary we can not live without ? 

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So what does a servant leader do ? How do they show up ? Here are some of the thoughts from today. Firstly the themes:

  • Values drive behaviour
  • Feedback is key
  • Leaders are aware and conscious of not only the impact they are having but also of what is the space, how their people are showing up, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Facilitation and questioning in a non-threatening way (curiosity)
  • Listening is a key skill
  • Character shines through

Some questions to ask yourself,

  • How many decisions do I not take (as opposed to in the old way of leading where all the decisions were mine to make )?
  • How well do I take feedback ?

Some of the thoughts that were shared

  • A servant leader is someone who owns what is happening now (even though they didn’t create it) and at the same time (and this is where the difference may be), creates a space for the team to also own it. The leader doesn’t have exclusive access to solving the problem, but rather facilitates the creation of a solution with the team – we are all in it together.
  • Servant leaders have learnt how to receive feedback (even when the feedback is clumsy) and are able to give constructive feedback. 
  • Servant leaders behave differently because they are living from a different set of values (co-operation, empowerment, trust, people can and like to be awesome)
  • Leaders inform the culture. They create the container that determines how people will show up. BUT, culture isn’t behaviour (that is what we see). Culture is the values we are living from
  • How do we SEE the culture we are in ?
  • A collaborative culture has consistency of values and diversity of thinking
  • How we hear what is happening around us will reflect the system and values we are living. Are we hearing from an empowered mindset or are we hearing from a victim mindset ?
  • The culture we are looking for is a culture of discussion 
  • The C.O.A.C.H. state. C – centred, O  – open to what arises, no judgement, A – aware, C – connected to people, resources, H – hold space for the team so that they can do the work. 
  • Servant leadership is when each person is empowered to do for the other.