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November 28, 2012 / glennlim thots

LEADERSHIP – 6 Key Principles of Servant Leadership

1) Self Awareness

All personal development and change begins with awareness. And in self-leadership, the ability to develop oneself is directly determined by the level of consciousness one has. The ability to develop others and serve the needs of the team and organization also rests on the leader’s keen sense of circumspection, introspection and retrospection. When one possesses self awareness, he is able to more accurately evaluate his leadership style & approach, and make appropriate changes to the right direction.


2) Empathic Listening

How does one develop a keen sense of awareness? By listening, to his inner voice, and to others. Many times leaders’ minds are filled with decisions to make, they allow their thought-life to be cluttered with information. Their ‘listening’ is relegated to either end of a defective spectrum – Passive listening (switch off), or Competitive listening (formulating pre-judgemental answers). Real, authentic, active listening is empathic,  adopting the other party’s position and premise. ‘Walking in their shoes’. Feeling the emotional impact an implications. And responding to it from an other-centric perspective.


3) People Building

A leader’s high and noble agenda is to build those around him.  He seeks opportunities to develop them. He finds teachable moments in every situation, including the negative ones (like failures). He looks for, and affirms growth in individuals. He places priority in developing his staff/team through training and improvement. He creates a nurturing work environment through coaching, mentoring and personal review. His ultimate goal is to add Value to every team member. The paradox to this principle is that the success of the people his builds reflect his success as a leader.


4) Conceptualising

The ‘Conceptualizer’ has “the ability to see the whole in the perspective of history, to state and adjust goals, to evaluate, to analyze, to create, and to foresee contingencies a long way ahead. . .” By contrast, much of today’s management is accomplished through the skills of ‘Operators’, who have the ability to carry the enterprise toward its objectives, and resolve issues that arise as this movement takes place.” This is probably the main distinction between operational managers and visionary leaders – the ability to conceptualise any given scenario with critical insight, and make sound judgement calls.


5) Foresight

Leaders peer into the future to make decisions in the present. Foresight = Forecasting with Insight. Leaders understand every decision they make for their organisations, teams and individuals have massive implications in the way their tracks are set up for events down the line. Leaders cannot lead with short-sightedness, narrow-mindedness or skewed perspectives. “The failure (or refusal) of a leader to foresee may be viewed as an ethical failure; because a serious ethical compromise today is sometimes the result of a failure to make the effort at an earlier date to foresee today’s events and take the right actions when there was freedom for initiative to act…”

6) Meaning-Finding

A leader must first find and live out his own purpose, and then help others find and live out theirs. Meaningful pursuit in the workplace generates the highest level of personal motivation and passion in people. Their ownership level of roles and tasks are high. Their sense of pride is increased. Their sense of calling and destiny is fulfilled. Leaders must always help others understand the larger purpose in their work. Always begin with the question “Why?” rather than “What must be done” or “How to get things done”. Why am I doing the things I’m doing now? Why am I working here? Why did I choose this job?…Leaders constantly inspire and challenge others to question their life’s purpose, and to live out their life’s meaning and calling.





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