Servant Leadership and Putting People First (Pillar 2)

Servant Leadership and Putting People First (Pillar 2)

 “The joy of giving is its own reward.”

~Kahil Gibran

Last week, we discussed the first pillar of servant leadership that defined a Servant-Leader as a person of Character. The second pillar of servant leadership, as discussed in James Sipe and Don Frick's book, Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership, is that a Servant-Leader Puts People First. A leader in service to other makes sure that others highest priority and development needs are met. Servant-Leaders:

•           Seeks first to serve, and then aspires to lead.

•           Self-interest is deeply connected to the needs and interests of others.

•           Serves in a manner that allows those served to grow as persons.

•           Expresses genuine care and concern for others.

Three core competencies of a Servant-Leader that puts people first;

•           Displays a Servant’s Heart

•           Is Mentor-Minded

•           Shows Care and Concern

It has been proven that companies and organizations that put people first out perform all of their competitors. Ironically, the practice of putting people before profits makes and an organization or company even more profitable. In fact, the authors revealed data on servant-led companies and their uber financial performance. What they found is that these businesses have Servant-Leaders who focus on serving rather than helping. When we are serving, we are listening and are concerned with the others full range of knowledge, skills, emotional, and behavioral dynamics. When we are helping, the emphasis is on what we know, and what we can do for others. This is an essential point. Servant-Leaders help by action but serve by actions and simple presence.

Many leaders describe their desire to serve as a “calling.” To think of it in this way in today’s highly-competitive, consumer-based world doesn’t mesh well with prevailing acumen, but the impression resides in the heart of the Servant-Leader. We know in today’s shrewd business culture, the work “love” is awkward. We are more accustomed to hearing love in church settings. In this context, we are speaking of love as acting intentionally in ways that support the health, wisdom, freedom, and independence of persons. It’s about meeting others critical needs and not the narrow ego needs of self.

Love is the most lasting. In this way, love is expressed through a Servant-Leaders presence with others, holding oneself accountable, and putting people first. Love that is mentor-minded, rejoicing in the growth and expansion of others no matter how different from our own. In the end, this is how servants love. This is how Servant-Leaders lead.


To Leading,

Dr. Crystal


Dr. Crystal J. Davis is a leadership consultant, author, researcher, and blogger. A former grant administrator with the U.S. Department of Education, she has over two decades of experience in leadership and management, not-for-profit executive experience, university level student services, and customer service which she leverages to help clients engage in authentic conversations to produce meaningful organizational and personal results. She was recently named on Entrepreneur Hub's 2015 Bloggers to Watch List. She is a research affiliate with the Center for Workplace Diversity, Spirituality in the workplace research team. Dr. Crystal authors a weekly learning blog on Servant Leadership that is located at

© Copyright 2015 ~Dr. Crystal J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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