The concept of servant leadership argues that in order to be a servant leader, one needs the following qualities—listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth and community building. Acquiring these qualities tends to give a person authority versus power. In his book Essentials, author Robert K. Greenleaf writes:
“The servant-leader is servant first... Becoming a servant-leader 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... 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 the most difficult to administer, is this: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”
If a colleague needs extra help to compile a report, you are there. If a manager needs you to stay late to meet a deadline, you do so cheerfully. If the entire team has let a project crash and burn, you are willing to be part of the solution without hesitation. And if the office kitchen is dirty, you do not mind coming in a bit early to make sure everybody can enjoy a clean one (you probably even bring coffee and donuts for the staff). You do this not necessarily to make people happy—which does give you a personal sense of accomplishment—you do it because it just needs to get done. And if it means a personal sacrifice, so be it.
Although this may not get you the glory and may be considered “administrative,” it is a critical function that is recognized and rewarded. The SSA individual does not need the credit. You just enjoy others becoming successful.
All great business leaders typically surround themselves with the SSA gift in some form or another. Where SSAs work, execution becomes part of the organizational culture.
For you, loyalty is not about what you can receive. It is about your duty to others. And when somebody appreciates this about you, you have no problems being loyal to them and the organization.
This can be a confusing term. Honor has nothing to do with flattery or pumping somebody else’s ego for advancement. Honor is about giving somebody the respect due him or her and about conducting oneself with character and integrity. People appreciate this about you. You of all other gifts are the least driven by any personal (or hidden) agenda. You give honor simply because it is due.
This does not necessarily mean you are shy. It just means you do not need to be the front person, but you do enjoy watching others grow into that role. You know your maximum potential is being a support. And the best support is being content without the spotlight.
“Hugging porcupines,” or, being a saint, are typical expressions to describe your personality of patience and endurance. You have no problem dealing with the tough customers or working with demanding colleagues. Your long-suffering shows others how much you really care.
A true SSA knows there is much to be done. And you need a positive attitude and energy to execute. You may not be the center of the party, but you have an energy reserve that can keep going and going.
The short-term is where the tangible needs are and can be met. Long term may seem too abstract for you. You have a personality that is very flexible and adaptable to short-term shifts and objectives.
On one hand, this is an advantage. If you want a job done right do it yourself. On the other hand, lack of delegation means lack of replication—personally and professionally speaking. Although it is your primary personality to just “get-er done,” proficiency in delegation is also necessary.
The engaged SSA is truly the unsung hero in a professional and even personal environment. You humanize the culture by helping others feel at home and taken care of. This allows co-workers to perform their best and achieve success.
If you can make this your point of motivation and fulfillment, you will always have job security. In other words, if your passion is to help others grow fruit on their trees, they will always share.
When you are part of a team, you provide momentum even if progress seems to have halted completely. Your participation builds that platform of success under the initiative, and all objectives are eventually met.
You are not interested in being the boss. Why would you when others are wired much more optimally than you? This is the reason you will always be welcome in the inner circle. Those in higher positions trust your motivations. You do not have an angle. You are not gunning for anybody. You will make the necessary sacrifices to serve, including your position. This ultimately always gets rewarded.
A related term could be resilient. Resilience is basically the ability to handle copious amounts of negative input and still produce a positive outcome. If you combine perseverance and resilience, nothing can stop you.
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