Servant Leadership Development

This semester you’ve learned about how to be a servant leader. If you’ve followed these tips you should be seeing improvement in the communication and quality of work coming from your club or organization.

Servant-leadership is characterized by the belief that development, particularly leadership development, is an on-going, life-long learning process. Skills such as empathy, stewardship, and self-awareness can be hard to learn, but are essential to being an effective leader. Characteristics such as listening, persuasions, conceptualization, foresight, commitment to the growth of others, and community building are all learnable skills, and servant-leaders should continue to develop these.

We encourage you to reflect and thoughtfully assess the degree to which you have each of these skills, and try to strengthen them as you feel necessary. Just as in exercise, working on parts of yourself that may have been dormant for a while will feel weird at first, but in time you will grow into a strong and confident leader.

Servant leadership works because of the specific practices of servant-leaders, practices that have been shared with you this semester, which can help you become a more effective leader and get positive results from those you lead. The key is paying attention to people; helping them to develop and grow, and looking ahead so that you and your colleagues will be able to continue serve others in years to come. Keep up the good work- your personal growth will take you on the journey to being a great servant leader.


Servant Leadership: Listen First

Servant-leaders listen in as many ways as possible. They observe what people are doing, conduct informal interviews, formal interviews, surveys, discussion groups, and focus groups. They use suggestion boxes. They are always asking, listening, watching, and thinking  about others and what they can learn from them. By listening, leaders are able to identify the needs of their colleagues, and that puts them in a good position to meet those needs. When you’re in a leadership role, it is paramount. Remember the people who put you in the leadership role, and be sure to listen to them. This will put your club on a path to success- everyone will feel like their needs are validated and perform to a higher level.

So ask yourself this: do others believe that you want to hear their ideas and will value them? Remember to work on being receptive to others. Show that you are genuinely interested in their views and input. By listening first you’ll be making your club a stronger community.

Community Engagement grants are now available. Contact Steph Reif, Vice President for Community Service, for more information.


Servant-Leadership: Be Reflective

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.


Servant-Leadership: Unleashing the Energy and Intelligence of Others

During your time in college thus far you have probably needed to work in a group at least once. Whether it be on a group project, in a club, or on a team- you have had some exposure to group work. Some people dread the idea of needing to rely on others to complete part of the required task. Here is a bit of advice for this type of person: take a deep breath, and remember that by stepping back you’re empowering others.

After coaching your friends and colleague, a servant-leader helps to unleash the energy and potential of those around them. People need experience making their own decisions, because an occasion may arise when they need to be the leaders, or make decisions that they normally don’t make. Those of you who may be more natural leaders and not always going to be there to help out, so it’s good to let everyone have a turn taking the lead. Remember, it doesn’t make sense to have a lot of people in a club, or on a team but only allow a few use their full potential. Servant-leaders unleash everyone and encourage them to make the maximum contribution they can make to the organization and the people it serves.

Interested in learning more about the community engagement initiatives this semester? Look for us at your upcoming club council meetings!


Servant-Leadership: Coaching, not Controlling

The most important aspect of being a servant-leader is the commitment to work for the good of others. This can sometimes be hard to remember when your fellow club members are dragging their feet on a project, or being indecisive about a program. As you continue to develop into your leadership style keep this in mind: Trying to control people won’t bring out their best. Servant-leaders bring out the best in their colleagues by mentoring, engaging, inspiring, and empowering them. A servant-leader should make sure that everyone understands the club or organization’s mission and help members to understand their role in fulfilling it.

As you begin the new semester, be sure to take time to help your fellow club member get onto the same page as you. Be there with the tools that they’ll need to achieve the club goals, and remember that coaching, rather than controlling, is a great way to help develop your colleagues.

Opportunities for your club to become involved in community engagement are coming this semester, so stay tuned!