So What is a Servant Leader?

 

According to Wikipedia ” Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy. Traditional leadership generally involves the exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. Servant leadership turns the power pyramid upside down; instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people. When leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they unlock purpose and ingenuity in those around them, resulting in higher performance and engaged, fulfilled employees.”

So many times leaders, managers, team leaders wonder why their teams are not performing to what they, the leader, feels is optimal. Which begs the question; how are they leading? Are leaders with a title leading with mandates, coercion, or threats? Do they feel the need to constantly watch over their team in essence babysit til the job gets done right? Is it enough to simply have a title or position of authority. I think not and I am not alone. There are quotes and articles written all over the internet and print publication, along with entire books about what truly makes a “good” leader.

It is said that Robert Greenleaf first coined the term “servant leader” though the concept is eons old, he said, “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“

So my friend, what kind of leader are you? What kind of leader do you want to be? Are you the kind of leader you would want to follow and would do your utmost for? Do you care about those under your leadership? Do you want to see them grow as individuals and be an integral part of the team. It’s frustrating when those under your leadership don’t flourish, and bring their A game to the team. It’s frustrating to feel the need to coerce, babysit, and threaten in order to get the job done, not only for the leader, but for the followers as well. It is a total morale breaker. So I encourage you to have your employees, or those under your leadership as your first priority, serve them, look out for their best interest. Come alongside them and help where it’s needed. Coach them to be the best versions of themselves, and you may just be amazed at what can actually be accomplished; what the team can rise up and do or create. Instead of thinking I must lead first, I encourage you to replace that with I must serve first, and then you will truly be a great leader!

A Time To Soar

Gratitude is more than just an attitude; it’s a way of being. it wasn’t that long ago that my way of being in this world changed. I can’t pinpoint a particular catalyst, but I know that a little over three and a half ago I was living a life of negativity, and self pity; I was completely focused on what I perceived was the scarcity of my life, and in that awful place something had been building for quite a while, this bewilderment of what had become of my life, my dreams, my hopes, my sense of wonderment, and vitality. I felt stuck in the mire and morass of discontent. Little did I know that this feeling of discontent was a gift, and would become the birthplace of who I am today.

I couldn’t bear it one moment longer. I was miserable and I knew something had to change. It was around that time that I began reading Brene Brown’s work, and her words struck a tremendous chord. Her work regarding vulnerability, shame, and wholehearted living resonated deeply within me; at the same time I began a practice of meditating on a daily basis, and somehow I had found the missing link in my life, that which would enable me to shake off the negativity that was eroding my life, and included people and attitudes. No longer was I going to let negative people influence my life. As for attitude; it was well past time to get off the pity pot, and time to stop looking at everything I didn’t have, and start being grateful for all I do have. There’s a lot to be grateful for!

And so I chose to walk out of my former way of being and embrace a life of fulfillment and joy. I left my job of seventeen years to go back to school to get certified in coaching. I walked away from an unhealthy relationship two days before Christmas. I picked up the pieces, brushed myself off and joyfully set about rebuilding my life from the inside out, a life I had almost forgotten I had ever dreamed of living.

I have wanted to be a Certified Life Coach for as long as I knew the profession existed, but in my former life believed it was an unattainable dream, a fairy-tale – WRONG! I did some research and found the perfect school of coaching for me; I found iPEC. What a wonderful journey it has been. I knew I was home before the first in person weekend module was over. I found my people, my tribe. We spoke the same language, and it is a language of the heart. I know because I can hear my heart sing!

Yes, there are still times of self doubt and moments of uncertainty, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that what I am doing and who I am today are in full alignment with my values and self worth. I have found and am living my purpose.

I am surrounded by people who support and believe in me; people who are positive and are making a mark in their own lives as well as the lives of others. No more negative people for me! While it’s wonderful being surrounded by people who believe in me, even more importantly I believe in me.

I started this article with a statement about gratitude being a way of life. It is, and for me it has to happen every day, or I can easily start slipping back into that negative place. I need to acknowledge on a daily basis all that I am grateful for, from something as simple as being able to put both feet on the floor as I awaken from a good night’s sleep, the blessing of having my son and wonderful people in my life along with my two little feline girls, to something as profound as finding and living my life’s purpose. So now I am a Coach, a Speaker, and a Facilitator.

I am not young (though I’m young at heart), I am in my fifties, and can honestly say it’s never too late to change, to experience: love, joy, fulfillment, a sense of wonderment, vitality, abundance, passion, and gratitude. It doesn’t mean life is perfect or I don’t encounter challenges, but I have developed resiliency, I don’t stay stuck and it makes a huge difference in my perspective and way of life!

Where are you my friend? Would you like to forge a new future? Wouldn’t you like to soar with the wings of a majestic eagle?

It’s possible – Anything and Everything is possible!

Leslie Evans

Breaking News

Somewhere along the line most of us have gotten the message, “I am not (fill in the blank) enough”  What is that voice in your head telling you. We all have a different blank that we fill in with. I’m not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, strong enough, experienced enough, popular enough, athletic enough, talented enough, successful enough, rich enough, whatever enough. It’s a voice that for most of us started in childhood, and has become the voice of our inner critic speaking in our own tone and manner, and is shame and fear based. Based on the shame and fear that if “they” really knew me, “they” would never  accept me, when the truth is we don’t accept ourselves. We feel we are somehow faulty. I remember growing up feeling that no matter what I did it was never going to be enough, so I’d just try harder, longer, pour my all into it, and still it was not enough. It was never enough, and I carried that into adulthood.

Recently I was at a workshop and as an entire group, in a safe environment, we exposed our vulnerabilities to each other as we proclaimed which area we felt we were not  “enough” in, and I have to say it took me by surprise. There were people there that I greatly admire, leaders in their field of business, and when it was their turn to share their inner demon I was quite frankly shocked. I would never have suspected what I heard, and in that moment I knew I was not alone, and that if I could see that they are more than enough in whatever area, then that meant I am enough too. Demons don’t do well when exposed to light. It became a very sacred moment as people let themselves be seen. The vulnerability present in that room was real;  we all felt it. And I realized I am part of a community called humanity, and we all in some way, shape, or form, feel we are not enough in some area of our lives, and it’s a lie.

I am also part of a community of servant leaders who are striving to banish those demons, to take back our power, to own who we are, and share ourselves, our truth, and our precious vulnerability with others, and to encourage and empower the people we so deeply care about: family, friends, colleagues, and clients to do the same.

Breaking News: Today I am enough. I won’t live the lie that says I’m not. I embrace my who, and all that I am, and yes, most definitely yes, I am more than enough, and so are you!

Leslie Evans

Today I shed My Old Skin

“Today I shed my old skin which hath, too long suffered the bruises of failure and mediocrity. Today I am born anew” A quote from Og Mandino. This phrase from The World’s Greatest Salesman has great meaning to me.

We need to think about “Shedding The Old Skin” and what that means. It means taking off the shackles that have bound us for way too long; being stripped of all our failures and mediocre living. It’s time to start over. Easier said than done, because the stripping or peeling off the old skin can be painful and leaves us feeling vulnerable, which is necessary for the growth process and personal and professional development, but feels so foreign. Most of us don’t like being or feeling vulnerable, yet it is exactly what we are called to do. We can’t build a new blueprint by simply writing over the old one; the old one needs to be discarded so we can begin fresh, new, which is the first sentence in this scroll, “Today I begin a new life” How easy is it to wander off of the path and to fall into prior habits that no longer serve us or the company we work for. It’s a large part of our comfort zone, kind of like trying to crawl back into the skin we’ve shed. The good news is, try as we might, it’s impossible. Oh, we might be able to cover some areas at least for a while, but others still remain exposed.

So what are we so afraid of? In one word….Change. Yet, isn’t that the very reason for coaching personal and professional development; to change the blueprint of our lives? Lasting and sustaining change? The answer is obviously yes. Hopefully we are no longer satisfied to suffer the bruises of failure and mediocrity. If we want to emerge victorious we MUST shed the old skin!

Are you ready? A good coach can absolutely help with this process.

Leslie Evans

Transformation Dare To Dream

Our past does not define or determine our future unless we choose to stay stuck. We can choose to walk a different path. We have the capacity for total transformation. Change begins within, it’s an inside job. The joy, passion, empathy and love we are all capable of lies within us, and begins with ourselves. Don’t wait for someone else to change. Your happiness is not dependent on another, again, it lies within. When you find it reach out to others, find your tribe and walk the journey together. Reach for the stars. Dare to dream, and make it MASSIVE. Take the risk to live your dream. Don’t settle for mediocrity! You’re worth far more than that!
Leslie Evans