Let me share my story to you! Last summer holiday, I started to have scout training, prepared for Carlton Trophy Competition, which is the highest level of skill competition for the Scouts branch. Fortunately, I have become the PL of the patrol. It was my first time to become a leader to lead a patrol. Therefore, I faced many difficulties during my leading process. Each member has different personalities so I couldn’t find the best way to lead this team. This has frustrated me a lot. I have thought to be a bossy leader, or even a dictator, controlled all power and had great authority in the team, scolded them strictly and they would gradually entirely follow my order so the situation would improve a lot!
To deal with my problems, I talked to my scout leaders and talked about how to lead the team properly. They introduced a new phrase ‘Servant Leader’ to me, a servant leader actively contributes to the personal development and performance of their team. They said that to become a servant leader, you need to be ‘servant first’ – you dedicate to the needs of others, especially team members before you consider your own. Dictatorship and Servant leadership are totally different! A dictator shouts out orders and does not take into account the wants and needs of others. A servant leader is a complete opposite. A servant leader works tirelessly to develop others and concern what they can do for others.
Therefore I realized that the traditional leadership and dictatorship cant account the wants and needs of others and I would just consider myself. The atmosphere of the team would be nervous all the time, an uncaring and cold image would build up in the team and my members might hate me a lot. I knew that this leadership was not the best way to lead my team!
I started to learn to become a servant leader. It took much time to let my members understand me. I asked to feedback to improve instead of telling my teammates what to do. I showed my support to them instead of spending my team to define expectation to my team. I showed my care and concern to my teammates instead of ignoring their need. Using the servant leadership style, I created a positive atmosphere in the team. The barrier between me and my teammates disappeared after I adopted this method. As a result, my teammates and I were more enjoyed in the training and also in scouting.
Here are some example of servant leaders. Mother Teresa, who brings images of a kind and caring woman. In fact, Mother Teresa began her ministry when she felt an unbelievable sense of empathy for the poor and suffering in Calcutta. Mother Teresa’s incredible sense of empathy helped her ministry grow to reach 133 countries, including over 4,500 sisters. Herb Kelleher, the founder and Chairman Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, showed enormous empathy to his company during his leading process, because of his leadership principles, southwest airlines became a successful company and a great example of servant leadership business. From my own stories and the two examples above, it is clear that the crucial point to become a successful servant leader is empathy.
For servant leaders, empathy can also be seen as showing a positive focus on people and their needs by building close and supportive relationships with others. they will care for other people and will deeply experience emotions that match what others are feeling. Since they understand others so deeply, their actions are motivated by a genuine desire to help others. They realize that each person is unique, each person has strengths and weaknesses. Therefore an empathetic servant leader can guide their teammates to success.
Leaders who lack empathy may be seen by others as indifferent, uncaring, and not interested in them. Empathetic leaders put themselves in the perspective of their followers and try to look at problems from their point of view. They take the time to get to know people and to make them feel like they’re personally involved. They focus on the importance of generous and kind, show a sincere interest in the well-being of others. However, Empathy is not sympathy, doesn’t mean agreeing with someone. Empathy doesn’t mean telling them that they are right, or even addressing their concern. Hope everyone can have an empathetic heart and try to be a servant leader.
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