A Servant Leadership Story


Being truly effective at work is no picnic; sometimes the challenges can be daunting. The story that follows came from a friend and colleague of mine. If you’re brave enough to admit it, this could be you.

On the last Sunday of the long holiday break, I was feeling anxious about going back to work, and couldn’t figure out why. I like my job. I like the people. I even like the problems. But, there is a feeling that comes over me a few times a week, a feeling of fear and chaos and anxiety. I did not spend a lot of time analyzing this and just shoved the thought aside.

Monday, while catching up, a co-worker came to me and said, “Now, while we are still in the relaxed glow of the holiday break, maybe we can spend some time to figure out how NOT to work in the panicked, frustrated mode that we have fallen back to so often.”

She was describing the feelings I was having about coming back to work! This was not about my co-worker and me; it was about all of us! I was so grateful that she, too, had realized there was an issue, and had taken the next step to address it. We can tackle it now that it’s out in the open.

In the servant leadership training program, we were taught about building trust and thinking about our thinking. In situations like this, I realize the positive impact the training has had on all of us.

I love this story. I love it because it shows the impact of learning about, understanding and applying servant leadership behaviors. These two co-workers decided to trust one another. They didn’t want to just accept their situation; they wanted to work together to make it better. They decided to “think about their thinking” and not continue down the same old path of fear and frustration. Both have spent several years practicing servant leadership.

Want to help your employees learn to problem solve without you having to point the way? Would you like them to be self- aware and know how to cope with the stressors they may encounter? How about creating an environment where co-workers feel empowered to check in on one another and work collaboratively to improve their situations?

Servant leadership provides answers to all these questions and more. The story above is an example of why the Servant Leadership Institute is compelled to educate and bring understanding to organizations about servant leadership. We remain committed to showing individuals and groups how to apply the behaviors of servant leadership because we know they will see the superior results it can bring.

Carol Malinski

Director of Content and Curriculum