What Makes a Servant Leader?

As the head of a company or organization, I think that being a servant leader is one of the most important ways you can approach your role.

A servant leader is a person who thinks about being a servant first, and a leader second. They prioritize the growth and prosperity of those around them, and help with other’s needs, rather than feeding their own personal ambitions. Being a servant leader is about community building and lifting up your fellow workers. Servant leaders make a conscious choice to promote the growth and well-being of the people they lead. It’s not about being “at the top of the pyramid”, it’s about helping the others climb up to the top by developing their skills and passions.

I always strive to be a servant leader because I believe that a strong community is greater than the sum of its parts. Caring for other people is the greatest strength of a servant leader. It’s easy to become a servant leader if you just look around. Ask yourself, what can I do to help those around you, and make them more productive? Here are some steps to help you picture how servant leadership can fit into your business philosophy.

  1. Identify your passion. I discovered my passion for business at the age of five, living in Mexico with a fig tree in our backyard. I picked the figs and sold them to people walking by on their way to work. This is the event that set my entire future in motion! When you discover your passion, you unlock your potential to serve others.
  2. Align with the cause that makes your heart “beep”. I give credit to my six year old for the twist on the typical saying, but I think making your heart “beep” is more dynamic than a simple heart beat. For me, my heart “beeps” when I mentor young Latinas. This is why I established the nonprofit organization known as the Fig Factor Foundation. This endeavor allows me to combine my passion for entrepreneurship with my passion for empowering young women to become all they can be. In this way, I lead by example to serve others in my community. When you find the cause that makes your heart “beep”, you can use that passion to develop ideas to help others and care for them.
  3. Take action and set goals. The hardest part of any idea is following through. Every day, I set goals that I plan to complete. You can set goals, big or small, to help others and improve your workplace and your communities. Don’t forget to write them down! It has been proven that you are much more likely to reach them if you do!
  4. Connect with others. If you want to serve the people around you, communication is key. Ask, “how can I make your day better?” Determine who is at the biggest disadvantage in your community and use your passion to support them. Make connections and alliances that will create a support system for you as well as the people you lead.
  5. Reconnect as needed. Always stay in touch with people after an event or encounter. Follow-up to make sure their needs are being met, and that they feel supported. For those who have been generous with you, remember to give back and help them as you can by sharing their social media posts, introducing them to an important connection or supporting their special efforts. Keep listening to others, and looking for opportunities to help them grow.

The idea behind a servant leadership philosophy is that employees and community members are human beings, not cogs in a machine. The more empathy a leader has, the more they will succeed at motivating and supporting the people they lead.

Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz is the CEO of JJR Marketing (www.jjrmarketing.com) and Fig Factor Media LLC (www.todayslatina.com), Founder of The Fig Factor Foundation (www.thefigfactor.org), Author of 9 books (www.jackiecamacho.com), international speaker and pilot.  Jacqueline speaks to hundreds of audiences about marketing, servant leadership, finding your passion and achieving success in business. She has been hired by the United States Army, BP International, United Airlines, Allstate, Farmers among other corporations to share her inspiration.

 

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