How to Inspire and Influence through Servant Leadership -

How to Inspire and Influence through Servant Leadership


By Melissa McManus

There are many different leadership styles and theories available to businesses today. It is hard to walk through a book section or peruse an online news site and not find an abundance of information on leadership.

So, how do you know what the best information is for you among the many resources out there? For me, there is one that stands out heads above the rest and that is servant leadership (it might not be what you think!)

I first came across servant leadership when I was in my doctoral program at Drexel University. The servant leader is genuine, self-aware, and has empathy for others. A servant leader is willing to step down from their balcony and walk around with those who make their leadership possible.

I recently heard a speaker, Scott Hagan, who had a similar philosophy on leadership. In his book he points out, “You cannot inspire people to live outside the box when you personally lead from inside the circle” (Hagan, S. 2016, p.34). The status quo will not inspire greatness; you have to push the envelope every day.

Leadership is not so much an action as it is an attitude. People are watching you as a leader. They want to be inspired by what you do and be mentored to find their own style. People seem to often forget great leaders are not born, but rather, they are made through nurture and growth. You can be born to do something but you still need to learn how to do it. (And, as we know, leading/managing people is not for everyone.)

The servant leader takes the time to discover who they are not only as a leader, but as a person. They take time to discover how to best use their talents to serve and influence others for the better.

Leaders have a responsibility that should not be taken for granted. Leadership does not mean control; it means the opposite: The ability to delegate and relinquish control. A great leader trusts that they have been inspirational, influential, and transparent so that those around them can lead in their absence. This is the hallmark of a remarkably great leader.

Servant leadership has clearly made an impression on me and how I conduct myself and it truly represents what I envision when I hear leadership. What kind of leadership style do you most embody or strive to embody?

About the Author: Melissa McManus has five years of research experience as well as over a decade of experience working in the educational sector spanning from TK through Adult education. Melissa has a Masters in counseling, received from California State University, Fresno and a Doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with a focus in Human Resource Development. Melissa’s professional interests include human behavior, research, writing, coaching, training, and knowledge transfer. On a more personal note, Melissa is involved in community service efforts including serving as chair of her children’s school site council, volunteering her time as an art docent, and serving in the library of her local church. In her free time when she is not running her kids to gymnastics or karate, Melissa enjoys reading (a lot), wine tasting, Crossfit, being with friends/family, and spending time with her husband and two children.

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