“Good leaders must first become good servants”
— Robert Greenleaf
For those of you that may be new to this blog, I have spent 2019 writing about how to lead more, and do L.E.S.S. Leading with L.E.S.S. is a mantra that I have developed and come to live by as a leader. L.E.S.S. is an acronym that stands for Love, Equip, Serve, and Self. Leadership starts with loving people first and foremost — without love for those we lead, we are bankrupt. Then we must focus on equipping those we lead with the skills needed to handle the mental and emotional work that takes place in our schools. As we work to equip people with needed skills, we need to realize that the people whom we lead rarely need a manager, instead, they typically need someone to stand alongside them in service while supporting the work and growing students. Finally, we must take care of ourselves as leaders. If we are not healthy, we cannot expect to lead others in a healthy, productive way.
This mantra is also a statement about the work we engage in on a daily basis. Too often we can get lost in strategy, tactics, or operations, and forget to literally- do less. Less is an acronym about what I have found are the vital components of great leadership and also a statement about what we focus on and how we do the work of leading others.
Going forward, I am going to spend the next few weeks writing about service to others. Being a leader is about the giving of yourself (time, talents, ears) to others; it is going on a journey and taking others with you; leadership is “others” focused. We need to stop thinking about leadership as if there is any other type than servant leadership. There may be many ways people behave when they are given a leadership role, but service is the only way to truly lead!
To lead, you must give of yourself.. There is NO other way to do the work of leadership effectively. We need to stop talking about leadership style, leadership philosophies, and realize that servant leadership is the only true form of leadership. I hope you continue to enjoy the journey of Leading with L.E.S.S and continue to read as I discuss some important aspects of service over my next few posts.