Exactly what is servant leadership?
Servant leadership isn’t about power or hierarchy. It’s about collaboration and partnership. And every organization needs leadership. We all know what happens to a ship when someone isn’t at the helm — it sinks.
Having a captain that stands at the helm and barks orders at everyone will get the job done. Sometimes, it’ll even get the job done well. The problem is that nobody is having any fun in that scenario. Nobody is communicating, learning, or sharing knowledge and responsibility. It doesn’t leave anyone any room to grow -- not for the deckhands, the captain, nor anyone in between.
You see, when “the boss” is the boss, it puts everyone beneath them—it doesn’t build teams, growth, or community.
Servant leadership allows space for everyone to shine. It encourages sharing knowledge, resources, and responsibility among all levels in any organization. It fosters growth and creativity. This style of leadership not only allows for failure, it encourages it. Because as any good leader knows, failure, when handled well, inevitably leads to innovation. It’s an environment that makes room for work to be creative, sometimes messy, and often FUN.
Do you know what happens when people have room for growth and have fun at work? They work harder and longer, they invest time and energy, and they build community at work. Where people build community, they grow roots. When people grow roots, they don’t even think about pulling up those roots in search of greener pastures.
After working with hundreds of businesses over the years, we built our team at Raise a Dream on the shared belief that of all of the “problems” that business owners come to us to “fix,” it almost always boiled down to the same fundamental issue: leadership. If you were to choose one issue to focus on when your business is struggling, it should (more often than not) be leadership.
The very meaning of the word leadership needs to be redefined. The dictionary defines leadership as “the action of leading a group of people or organization.” Synonyms include: directorship, governorship, administration, captaincy, control, supremacy, rule, command, power and dominion.
Well, none of that sounds very appealing, does it?
We believe in leading through compassion—not only in business but also in politics, parenting, and education. Leadership needs to become synonymous with collaboration, cooperation, kindness, generosity, community, engagement, creativity, and innovation. We want to live in a world where people work together to achieve their own personal definitions of success.
When you lift as you climb, you feel good about being part of the success of others around you. You actually learn from their successes and failures and they learn from yours.
It is our mission to lead others to success through collaboration and also to build a company for our team in which we can thrive as individuals and as a business. We support the “crazy” notion that you can help others at the same time as you help yourself.
With servant-leadership, the lines between "the employer" and "the employee" are blurred in the same way that, for us, the lines between work and play are blurred. And we wouldn't have it any other way.
~ Charmaine Hammond & Rebecca Kirstein