A New Perspective


Diving into the life and leadership of serving first

What is servant leadership? Is it an idea, a concept or a way of life? Is servant leadership something you do, say or act out? Is it just related to the workplace or can it be applied to your personal life, too?

I would say it is all of the above. When I first started reading materials based off servant leadership, I didn’t understand the depth and impact that came with this concept. The basic notion of caring for others comes with much more insight and responsibility from a servant leadership perspective.

Could it really be that hard to care for those around us, to put them first? Is it possible to have the power model of leadership be flipped when a business owner is in charge? I was a bit skeptical, but after reading more and more about servant leadership, I am a firm believer that with time and effort, it works.

First and foremost, I’ve learned we are all leaders. Whether it is in our personal life, at work, or with our families and friends, we all have the ability to influence others to be their best selves. By staying in line with the nine behaviors of a servant leader, I truly believe we can inspire those around us while improving our own quality of life in the process.

“Servant leadership gives people the chance to feel significant seven days a week…not just on the weekends,” is a quote from SLI founder Art Barter that really resonates with me. How amazing would it be if we could all feel significant, wanted and truly valued every day of the week? What if people both at work and in our personal lives took the time to get to know us by listening to our stories and telling us theirs?

It’s unfortunate that with the trials and tribulations of daily life, we often lose sight of our value, whether it is with our attitude, the actions of those around us or perhaps a lack of passion in daily activities. I believe if we work together to intentionally get to know each other, focus on how to serve first, build trusting relationships, and inspire those around us, only positive things will come.

I can already tell with this new perspective that I’m listening more, taking the opportunity to get to know people, holding myself accountable, and adding value in both casual conversations and business meetings. I have quickly become a firm believer in servant leadership. Although it takes time, daily dedication and patience, it is worth it!

To me, servant leadership is an opportunity for you to live your truth, to be your highest self and at the same time raise those around you. It’s waking up in the morning and wanting to serve others with your words and actions as well as your whole being. It’s serving first, listening first and loving first even when things get tough — making a daily commitment to yourself and those around you to serve with love. It’s having the courage to stand up for what you believe in, but having the kindness to see things another way.

If we all lead our lives as servant leaders, who’s to say what cannot be accomplished?

Erin Joyce

Social Media Consultant for Servant Leadership Institute