When the day is done and the employees have gone home, where does that leave you – the servant leader? While it is important to take care of your employees and help them grow to succeed, you cannot forget to help yourself grow and pay attention to what you want to gain or achieve. A servant leader has to have a desire to serve not only others, but themselves.
Keep a Journal
It may sound elementary, but keeping a journal of your goals, desires, progress and even current projects can not only be therapeutic, but can help you keep track of where you’ve been, where you are at now, and what you want to reach in the future. It can be a great tool for tracking different ideas, opinions or general feelings during training or working with employees. Don’t be afraid to record any problems or frustrations you may be facing because the goal is to obtain honest self-reflection. Make notes of areas you are doing well in and identify areas in which you think need more work. While you may be training and teaching others, don’t forget to take the time to note your own challenges and achievements.
Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses
You spend all day evaluating your employees and future leaders to determine their strengths and skills and what areas they need more help with. But have you ever stopped to evaluate yourself? As a servant leader, it is important for you to identify your own strengths and weaknesses. Of course you have common leadership traits, but what other strengths do you bring to the table? On the other hand, what are your weaknesses that you need to address? What areas do you need to request help with? A good tool for this exercise is a simple written evaluation of yourself, but you can also use formal job assessments that identify job strengths and weaknesses, and of course a one-on-one conversation with a colleague can be a real eye opener.
The goal of this exercise is to be honest with ourselves. We cannot gain knowledge or seek help if we do not identify that there is a problem. If there is an area we excel in and identify as a strength, don’t be afraid to ‘hone’ those skills and share them with others.
Identify Your Needs
A servant leader has the desire to serve their employees and help them in their areas of need. But a leader cannot forget to identify their own needs as well. Sometimes we have to admit when we are in need of something and not be afraid to seek help. You may be a leader, but you are not invincible. Maybe you need more help developing training courses? Maybe you need more help learning computer programs? Or maybe you just need help getting the office organized or in order. Some needs may be more personal, such as a need for personal growth or a need for some time to yourself. Whatever your need turns out to be, it is important to not bury them inside and try to solve them all yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others and request help with meeting your own needs.
Creating Your Own Goals
As a leader, one of the first exercises you stress to employees is to establish goals for them to work toward. This practice is the same for you. When you begin a new segment at work, whether it is training a group of leaders or creating a new team to work with, you should take the time to create goals of your own to work on. Periodically check in on these goals to see if you are moving on the right path or identify areas you still need to work toward. Don’t be afraid to create long term goals as well that may take more time to accomplish. When you finish, determine if you can achieve these goals on your own or if you will need help from an outside source to do so. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help achieving your own goals and desires.
This post is from January’s topic on “Servant Leadership“, which is also a full course on our MBA Certificate program, available online from Harvard Square. To build a strong foundation in leadership and business administration, this 100% online 6-month program is scheduled to start on the 1st of every month.