Becoming a leader. What all does that entail, and how do you accomplish such a feat? Our staff read The Serving Leader by Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert. The book is an exposition about becoming a leader – a serving leader. Executive directors aren’t the only ones who need to practice becoming a serving leader; there were 5 powerful take a ways from the book that we should all put into practice.
Now, in order to understand the 5 action steps, you must understand the format. The traditional leadership pyramid has the leader at the top with the lower positions making their way down the rungs. This book upends the pyramid, so the leader is at the very bottom, serving those now positioned above him. While this is important, this is not the foundation. The foundation starts with the first step:
Here are the 5 steps:
- Run to Great Purpose – Before you begin anything, you must have a solid goal. This goal must be so inspiring that you want to run toward it. In the world of nonprofits, our goal is found in our mission statement. Does your mission make you want to run toward a great purpose?
- Upend the Pyramid – I mentioned this point earlier, so now you know where it stands in the pyramid. Once you have a great purpose, you must make the decision to serve those “below” you in rank. When your organization succeeds, give them the credit, not yourself.
- Raise the Bar – This point is one of the most important to have a successful business, organization or family. Set high standards. If you expect the best, your team will want to reach that goal. If you don’t set the bar at exceptional, they will have no reason to become exceptional.
- Blaze the Trail – If you want your staff, coworkers and volunteers to be exceptional, you must make that effort possible. Remove the barriers, provide the necessary training and give your team the resources they need to achieve greatness. They can’t be exceptional if you don’t train them in that regard.
- Build on Strengths – This last point is the cherry on top. Look for people’s strengths; don’t focus on improving their weaknesses. Give everyone a role that fits their strengths so they can succeed. If someone is great at organization, but poor at public speaking, give that person an organizational role and enlist someone else for the public speaking role.
If you want to learn more about The Serving Leader, check out the book. It is a simple, easy read that explains the steps to becoming a Serving Leader. Help out your team by investing in your potential!