In 1958, Robert Greenleaf published his essay, “Essentials of Servant Leadership”. The core as explained in the “Essentials” is:
“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…” — Robert Greenleaf, 1958
Col. Eric Kail is an U.S. Army field artillery officer who has commanded at the company and battalion levels. He is the course director of military leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He holds a PhD in organizational psychology. Col. Kail is writing a series in the Washington Post on “Leadership Character”.
He suggests that it is Character that makes good leaders. Good character is made of courage, integrity, selflessness, empathy, collaboration and reflection.
When writing on selflessness, Kail says,
“No one wants a weak leader, and no one should have to tolerate one. Selflessness is all about strength, and it’s not for the faint of heart. Weakness, on the other hand, takes the path of least resistance; and as humans, that means being selfish — wanting all the credit and none of the blame. Real strength is measured by what we enable our followers to accomplish through our service to them, not by the pressure of our grip and the weight of our demands. Attempting to demonstrate just how strong our powers of authority are as leaders is the quickest path to confirming our weakness.”
One of the best leaders I’ve had the privilege to follow once told me: “To lead is to serve; nothing more, nothing less.” His first concern was for how he could help those doing the most critical work of the day. He suffered no fools either, and yet he was not the focus of my accountability as a subordinate leader. Together we served those we led, and he always made clear that those following us deserve our very best.”
Servant leaders, selflessness leaders are the mirror of their organization. They carry the Teams emotions, stresses and confidence.
Their buoyancy permits success, stretch and sincerity. Leading makes you modest.
Leaders, humble leadership is about the Team and helping them win and gain recognition. Leaders are measured by what others achieve. Leadership is about moving forward, it’s about collaboration and ending with a question.