Each of us is the instrument through which we lead. If we want to be an effective leader, especially effective servant leaders, we need to be aware of who we are and how we impact others. As in all relationships, people react differently to our personalities, our strengths, our weaknesses, our biases, our skills, our experience, our sense of humor, and the way we talk, move, and act. We need to understand ourselves to understand how others perceive us. What we learn about ourselves often depends on the feedback others give. We need to be reflective over that feedback, and not react too quickly. If someone criticizes you, try not to instantly be offended. Take a moment to try to hear what the person is trying to tell you. Take time to think about how you behave, and why. Consider whether there are other, better, more appropriate, more effective, more thoughtful ways to behave. Taking time to focus on how you lead and why will give you a chance to restructure what is no longer working and keep the things that are.
Being a servant leader means that you are constantly evolving in your leadership style while working to find a method that allows you to help the largest amount of people. This process takes self-awareness as well as self-reflection. This process can be uncomfortable, but it is worthwhile. Don’t be discouraged if you haven’t found your style yet- keep working!
If you’re interesting in receiving funding for service opportunities this semester please contact Steph Reif, Vice President for Community Service.