Would your employees see you as a servant leader? Would they say that you’re a person of integrity? Do they have the sense that you serve a higher purpose? Do you communicate persuasively? Regularly show appreciation? There’s no better leadership than putting the needs of those you lead first.
While there are few among us who are “natural-born servant leaders,” anyone who wants to be a servant leader can be. A good place to start is to complete a servant leader competency assessment.
A Servant Leader Competency Assessment
Start by completing our servant leader competency assessment. You’ll probably be surprised that you exhibit at least some of the servant leader competencies! It would be helpful to know which practices you already have under your belt and which practices, therefore, you want to work on.
We created the Servant Leader Competency Assessment for Small Business, a short scorable self-assessment using the 21 concrete, observable competencies from Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership (James W. Sipe and Don M. Frick). We think these 21 competencies really get at the heart of servant leadership in any small business:
I. Person of Character
1. Maintains integrity
2. Demonstrates humility
3. Serves a higher purpose
II. Puts People First
1. Displays a servant’s heart
2. Is mentor-minded
3. Shows care and concern
III. Skilled Communicator
1. Demonstrates empathy
2. Invites feedback
3. Communicates persuasively
IV. Compassionate Collaborator
1. Expresses appreciation
2. Builds teams and communities
3. Negotiates conflict
V. Has Foresight
2. Displays creativity
3. Takes courageous and decision action
VI. Systems Thinker
1. Comfortable with complexity
2. Demonstrates adaptability
3. Considers the greater good
VII. Leads with Moral Authority
1. Accepts and delegates responsibility
2. Shares power and control
3. Creates a culture of accountability
You can complete our Servant Leader Competency Assessment for Small Business here.
The assessment contains a more detailed description of each of the 21 competencies. There’s a place to rate yourself on a scale of 1-5 for each competency and a place for a trusted mentor, peer, or team member to rate your level of skill for each competency. The servant leader competency assessment will automatically average your score for each competency and then give you an overall score. It only takes a few minutes and everyone who takes it finds it enlightening.
After You Complete Your Servant Leader Competency Assessment
Once you complete your assessment, reflect on your strengths. Then choose 3-4 of the lowest scoring areas you most desire to change. For each of those:
- Determine where you can get additional information and read up on the skill. Sipe and Frick’s book is a good start—they offer a thorough description of each competency and how to develop it. Note, a really great resource if you haven’t discovered it yet is For Your Improvement*, a large reference tool for the development of around 100 competencies. For each competency it describes what the skilled and unskilled versions look like, possible causes, several remedies, and suggested readings.
- After reading, researching, and reflecting on your own, bounce your conclusions off a trusted peer.
- Identify opportunities for practice and then walk out of your office, find an employee, and start practicing.
- After a time, ask for feedback.
Completing a servant leader competency assessment is a quick yet substantial way to impact your team’s performance. A servant leader inspires people. It causes them to feel valued which causes them to enjoy their work which causes them to work better and harder. Servant leadership creates energy, trust, and even accountability. Ultimately it creates increased profit.