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Chief's Corner - week of April 30

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Servant leadership 
Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of others, shapes better organizations and, ultimately, leads to enhanced mission accomplishment. People are generally more productive when they believe they are valued.  If we, as a force and a nation, are to climb to greater heights in our personal and professional lives, servant leadership must be internalized and become a key component of our daily interaction and execution.

Servant leadership is a timeless concept where the preeminent purpose is to understand the needs of people. The servant leader commits to a gazelle-like focus on building relationships that focus primarily on their people's development and welfare, while balancing their own.

Various forms of leadership are commonly centered on the authoritarian style, where adherence to the leader is overtly demanded.  In the military environment, this type of leadership is necessary in certain situations, but I would submit it's not effective as a general practice.  On the contrary, the servant leader is purposefully different and primarily focuses on shared power, where the leader places a premium on the needs of others.   As a result, success is multiplied and satisfaction beyond the limits of traditional leadership outcomes is realized.

Listed below are six servant leader values that, if deliberately applied, will exponentially multiply leadership effectiveness.   
1.  Honor others before yourself

In word:  Celebrate other's success and empathize with loss.
In deed:  Listen intently with an open mind.

2.  Inspire vision before setting course
In word:  Articulate definite goals and expectations.
In deed:  Model commitment and passion.

3.  Choose ethics before achievement
In word:  Keep your promises.
In deed:  Consistently be above reproach, publically and privately.

4.  Empower others before personal gain
In word:  Translate failure as an opportunity for growth.
In deed:  Share responsibilities and credit.

5.  Value people before tasks
In word:  Verbalize respect and appreciation.
In deed:   Be kind under pressure.

6.  Balance focus with flexibility before decisions
In word:  Pay attention to change through dialogue.
In deed:  Choose long-term gains over short-term wins.

Truett Cathy, Chick-Fil-A founder, summed up servant leadership perfectly when he said, "Nearly every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to give something to someone else - our time, our love, our resources.  I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return."
 
As leaders, we must genuinely care for those whom we are privileged to lead and exhaust all avenues to help them reach their full potential.  When we do, we can confidently stand back and witness amazing results. 


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