As a physician-in-training, I truly believe I have a servant’s heart, and that is the way I like to lead. So, what does it mean to be a servant leader? Although people may be competent and their tasks important, a servant leader treats people as partners. To me, a servant leader is one who serves while doing; they talk the talk and walk the walk.
A servant leader does not think a job or duty is beneath them. This is something I preach and always practice. When starting a new job for a physician credentialing company, the CEO was afraid the job would insult my level of education and expertise since I previously served on a parent organization’s Board of Trustees. I assured him that was not the case as we all have to start somewhere, and I truly believe that “you are never too small to do something.” By that I mean, I could be leading a board meeting or stuffing envelopes just like the rest of the staff. I am not too important for any job.
A servant leader demonstrates leadership through action and by example. I always think of the following quote by Gandhi which summarizes the previous sentence well. Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Words can be cheap; demonstrate by action. I always say, “actions speak louder than words.” Don’t say you’re willing to work overtime if you’re not. If I commit to coming in on a Saturday to get things done, I need to do my part and show up.
A servant leader is a hard worker. You work hard toward the organization’s goal. If you’re not working your hardest, why should anyone else? If the organization is going through a particularly hard time, you shouldn’t delegate every task. You should be putting in the time and hours to help your organization thrive again. If you expect it from others, you should do it yourself too. I think of the concept, “treat others the way you’d like to be treated.” The same can go for expectations. Hard work can lead to true success.
Are you a servant leader? What does being a servant leader mean to you?