For the past seven years I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a Leadership Success Academy series to nonprofit CEOs and Board Members in the Florida  Keys. One of the highlights of the series is the session on Servant Leadership, a rich philosophy created by Robert Greenleaf. I’ve summarized here the 10 Principles of Servant Leadership and how they are actualized in organizations, including the board room.

  1. Listening – identify the will of the group – by hearing what is said and what is not said.  Seek feedback.
  2. Empathy – accept the intentions and the person even when forced to reject the person’s behavior or performance.  Even when people act miserably or do not fulfill commitments, assume their intentions are good.  And, THEN speak to them about the issue.
  3. Healing – creating wholeness in the organization
  4. Awareness – observe, communicate, recognize issues and resolve them.  Don’t pretend there are no issues.  Deal with them.
  5. Persuasion – work through consensus, not intimidation.
  6. Conceptualization – balance the future with the day to day, but  “dream great dreams” of what could be.
  7. Foresight – understand the lessons of the past, realities of the present and the most likely consequences in the future of the decisions made today.
  8. Stewardship – oversight of the organization in partnership with the CEO.
  9. Commitment to the growth of people – beyond the work 00 as personal, professional and spiritual growth of all in the organization.
  10. Building community – creating a culture within the organization and within the circles of influence

Studies of for profit and nonprofit organizations show that those using Servant Leadership as a guidepost for cultural norms have better cultures.   And, we all know that organizations with better cultures most often have greater results.  Something to think about and bring to the boards on which you serve? I think so.