If you want to lift yourself up, you must uplift someone else, said Booker T. Washington, born slave, educator, orator and advisor to several presidents of the United States. As a Black woman in the U.S., it is important that I remember to serve those who have come before me, those who will come after me, and those who are rising with me. I stand on the shoulders of giants, and those giants were servants first, then became leaders.
What Is Servant Leadership?
The founding father of servant leadership, Robert Greenleaf, describes this approach as a process of leadership that challenges traditional leadership by placing the needs of the followers before the leaders’. As a public servant in the city of Chicago, it’s my job to put constituents’ needs often before my own.
For example, during this current pandemic of COVID-19, my need was for our district office to close and to limit contact with constituents. I had to figure out a way to also make sure that constituents’ needs were being met no matter what. To accomplish this, I rerouted all office phone calls to my cell in order to be accessible for those in need. It is my hope that this approach will have a societal impact — that these same constituents will remember that our office was there for them in their time of need and will continue to support the office in our endeavors.
Whenever you need a little inspiration, read this blog with 11 quotes about servant leadership, starting with the man who coined the term “servant leader,” Robert Greenleaf.