Generosity is surely among the cardinal virtues of servant leadership.
Servant-leaders tend to be givers by nature. The desire to serve is close kin to the desire to give.
Of course, servant-leaders are generous in many ways and with many things. However, the stewardship of power is of special concern to servant-leaders.
In exercising that stewardship, here are 5 ways servant-leaders are generous with power:
- Time. Servant-leaders generally recognize that time is a scarce resource. They manage it prudently. Though they often have the power to say “no” to requests for their time, servant-leaders tend to dislike using that particular power. By saying “yes” to requests for their time, servant-leaders exercise a type of generosity that followers can deeply appreciate.
- Information. Those higher in the organizational chart tend to have more information than those at lower levels. The servant-leaders among the “higher-ups” tend to keep information flowing (of course exercising appropriate discretion). Decision-making can be improved when information is widely available to the team. Transparency with information leads to greater trust.
- Knowledge. Scientia potentia est. Knowledge is power. Servant-leaders don’t hoard knowledge, they share it. Servant-leaders tend to be natural teachers; they tend not to seek labels of “expert” or “guru.” By sharing knowledge, servant-leaders help others be wiser, freer, more autonomous and more likely themselves to be servant-leaders.
- Network. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know that can be a source of power. Recognizing this, servant-leaders will usually go out of their ways to share their network, include others in it. In this way, servant-leaders are “netweavers” – they integrate followers into their network and help them form valuable relationships of their own.
- Authority. In some cases, a servant-leader’s power comes from organizational authority. A servant-leader does not give that power away – that would be abdication: a failure to fulfill a duty. But a servant-leader can share power by inviting others into the exercise of authority. Soliciting input, opinions and assistance in making decisions are important ways to do so.
Do you agree?
Is there something on this list I missed? (I would not be the first time I missed something – or, I am sure, the last time I will miss something!)
As always, we appreciate your views. Thanks.