Want to Be a Servant Leader? Here's How to Start Your Day

October 29, 2018

How to be a servant leader – it starts with how you start your day.

Recently, we at LinkedIn Learning uncovered the most frustrating traits a manager can possess. Near the top of the list?

An absent, out-of-touch leader. On one hand, employees don’t want a micromanager. But, on the other, they don’t want someone who doesn’t seem to care, either.

What’s the solution? Well, according to leadership guru Ken Blanchard, it comes down to acting as servant leader. That means being a boss who serves their employees, instead of employees serving their boss.

If you do this, your employees will feel supported. And, it’ll drive business results as well.

“The only way I have seen organizations get great results and great human satisfaction is when people understand the power of servant leadership,” Blanchard said in his LinkedIn Learning course on servant leadership.

How to be a Servant Leader: It Starts First Thing in the Morning

LinkedIn Learning Instructor Ken Blanchard explains how being a servant leader starts with how you start your day.

Let’s assume you are bought into being a servant leader. How do you do that?

Well, according to Blanchard, it starts with how you wake up in the morning.

“I'm convinced we have two selves," Blanchard said. "We have an external task-oriented self that's used to getting jobs done, and then we have a thoughtful reflective self. Now, which of those two selves do you think wakes up quicker in the morning? It's the task-oriented self.”

The problem? If you are this task-orientated self, it’s nearly impossible to be a servant leader. As this self, you are so focused on getting things done you'll spend the whole day in execution mode.

Instead, Blanchard said stop rushing out of bed each morning. Take some time to be reflective – something he does himself.

“(When I wake up), I like to put my hands on my knees, sit on the side of the bed and think about what am I going to do today, how do I want to behave, what my values are,” Blanchard said.

This way, you go into each day with a clear purpose – in this case, being a servant leader. And now, instead of spending the whole day snapping orders and checking boxes, you can be strategic and focus on bringing the best out of your people.

In his course, Blanchard cited the iconic Socrates quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” But the unexamined life is what you'll lead if you just attack each day full bore – you'll always be in execute mode, never in reflect.

And it’s almost impossible to be a good leader doing that. You’ll grind people down, drive them too hard and won’t develop their skills.

Instead, by starting each morning by calming yourself into that more reflective state, you’ll approach the day much more thoughtfully. And, that’ll lead to more strategic thinking and a much greater chance of being that servant leader, who makes people feel supported.

Want to learn how to be a servant leader? Watch Ken Blanchard’s full course, which is free until Dec. 31.

Other LinkedIn Learning courses that’ll help you become a better manager – and which also are FREE until Dec. 31 – are: