Most organizations providing care-based services to the people advocate for the use of leadership philosophies geared towards putting the needs of the people first. This provides the organization with the chance to develop and transform the lives of the people as much as possible. This calls for the use of servant leadership, which is the best leadership paradigm when it comes to prioritizing the needs of the people. In simple terms, servant leadership is both a philosophy and leadership strategy that involves the active collaboration of all employees with the single goal of producing the best outcomes for the organization’s beneficiaries.
Personally, I have witnessed servant leadership at work. Our organization adopts the servant leadership model with the needs of the organization’s beneficiaries being the single most important goal. The organization’s mission is to transform people’s lives positively. With this leadership model, the organization strives to provide an environment where the leaders can make the best decisions for the organization in both the short-term and in the long-term.
In addition, the leadership strives to create a high trust level within the organization. Every employee feels loved, and the organization makes it clear that they care about their families too. These subtle gestures not only motivate the employees but also creating a good environment for positive engagements between the employees and with clients, as well. Nonetheless, the organization had its own challenges in the initial stages. The leadership model employed at that time was the positional leadership style. Decisions were made from the top and passed down to the low levels for implementation. This created chaos because top decision maker had subordinates instead of team members. In addition, it was not easy to work with volunteers and young people because these groups tend to be more independent. Nonetheless, the scenario changed with the appointment of new leaders.
The new leadership made a shift from positional leadership to servant leadership. The leadership revised the organization’s mission and vision, with the purpose of redefining the organization’s focus. They made it clear that the main purpose of the organization is to serve the people. This required a mental shift, especially on the part of the employees. To achieve this end, the leadership encouraged active participation of the employees in decision making. Again, the organization embarked on motivating the employees so that they could deliver services without the imaginary limits placed by positional leaders.
The net effect was that employees cared about the welfare of one another, as well as the welfare of their clients. Without the new leadership, the organization would still be stuck maintaining useless hierarchies, which have little or no influence on the lives of the people. Right now, the organization makes sure that people who come into contact with it have something positive to take home. From the good reception, clarity of communication and timely service delivery, many people who come into contact with employees of the organization write back to thank the organization for the excellent service delivered.
The same thing happens with the employees; for example, get well soon messages from the organization to family members of the organization’s employees make many employees feel loved and cared. This brings a feeling of togetherness and yields positive vigor within the organization.
Looking back in time, there are few instances that stand out since my childhood. Those instances shaped my concept of leadership and realigned my focus towards servant leadership. While in high school, a motivational speaker who also happened to be a preacher came to our school. He delivered a keynote address that still reverberates through my mind. He said that the greatness of human beings is measured by their deeds and the number of people their impact positively in their lives. In concluding the speech, he said that his visit to the school would not be in vain if only one of us would take the initiative to be that person who would transform the world to be a better place for other people.
For a moment, I remained transfixed as I digested the wisdom of the speaker. There and then, I decided to do everything possible to transform people’s lives. My mind began to focus on servant leadership, and providing excellent services that would make a difference in people’s lives. I had no idea about how I would do it, but the idea would not leave my mind. Many years after that incident, I still recall that speech when I am facing challenges or when I feel that my dreams are unachievable.
Another incident that remains critical to my personal development happened during my adolescence. Many are the times that I would lose temper and get out of control. One day, I had an argument with my friend about who had the nice shoes. Although my friend’s shoes were clearly good looking than mine, I would not budge. I stood my ground because I thought my friend was undermining me. Out of the blues, we got into a heated exchange, and the next moment I was punching his face. My friend fell on the ground like a sack.
For the first time, I realized that I needed to control my temper and avoid acting selfishly. I ran to our house and clocked myself inside the bathroom. I prayed to God to take away my temper. “God, I could have killed him,” I remember thinking. Despite the fact that he was my best friend, I almost disfigured his skill following a silly argument. Lucky enough, my friend was not badly hurt. Ashamed of my actions, I went to apologize. To my surprise, my friend said that he had forgiven me.
That incident taught me the art of forgiveness and the need to consider the impact of one’s action on other people. From that period, I vowed not allow temper to dictate my future or ruin my friendships with other people; I try as much as possible to be in control. I have to put myself into the other person’s shoes before making a decision that would probably affect his or her life.
In conclusion, no organization can transform the lives of people without inculcating servant leadership into its management. Servant leadership starts with the management breaking the barriers to internal communication and facilitating positive engagements within and outside the organization’s environment. As a result, the organization’s employees would be highly motivated to take part in the organization’s activities and nurture positive relationships with clients. This is unlike the scenario in organizations that employ positional leadership where the firm is obsessed with maintenance of hierarchical structures that have no impact on people’s lives.