One of the most fun and challenging aspects of servant leadership is the continuous growth that happens along the way. Simply because we’re only human, every leader has some characteristics that come naturally, while other competencies develop over time. As you strive to become a better, more well-rounded servant leader, here are some resources to help develop soft skills and other professional qualities.
Become a Better Listener
Listening is one of the most essential skills for a servant leader, especially active listening. In this practice, the person listening repeats back what they have heard in the form of a question to confirm understanding before they share their thoughts. Active listeners also pay attention to emotions and nonverbal communication. To become a better active listener, try out these resources:
- The Active Listening Wiki is full of information about active listening in all types of situations and overcoming barriers
- SessionLab shares a list of active listening exercises that can help a pair or team practice listening and retention
- Udemy offers an Active Listening Masterclass with unlimited access and downloadable resources for a one-time fee
Awareness is the ability to look at yourself and your behavior in the context of the others around you. As a leader, this means considering elements like how you give and receive feedback, how you manage your emotions while communicating, and how your values appear in the workplace. Becoming a self-aware leader is a constant process. Here are some resources to help you get started:
- University of California, San Francisco provides an online core self-assessment to show you where you can grow
- A list from Steve Scott at developgoodhabits.com shares written, social, and physical activities to improve self-awareness
- Rice University offers a free class on self-awareness and leadership through Coursera
People might think persuasion is negative, but in the hands of the right servant leader, it is a valuable skill. The aim of a servant leader is to build a consensus and comraderie among team members, rather than dictate tasks through authority. When you persuade members of the team, this means you’ve earned their trust and support. Learn more with these resources:
- This video from Gregg Learning, The Art of Persuasion in Leadership, can help you understand how these ideas align
- Harvard Business Review’s Emotional Intelligence series includes perspectives about emotional intelligence, leadership, and persuasion from multiple experts on ethical persuasion
- Alison offers a course on workplace persuasion and motivation that also covers negative persuasion and how to avoid those tendencies
Listening, awareness, and persuasion are three of the most important skills for a servant leader, and they are also the kind of skills everyone can always improve. Whether these resources expose you to new concepts or help you deepen an understanding, we wish you happy learning and happy leading.