When I originally became a leader on my basketball team my sophomore year of college, I was not sure what it truly meant to be a leader. When I thought about celebrated leaders, I pictured strong, domineering individuals who were able to motivate and help people to get the job done. However, throughout my past two years of being a leader on my team, I have realized that it is the servant leader who truly finds success.
Robert Greenleaf, leader of the Servant Leadership movement, once stated, “Good leaders must first become good servants.” When I originally saw this quote my sophomore year of college, I had many questions. What exactly does it mean to be a good servant? How does service come into leadership? And isn’t one of the perks of being a leader to get people to serve you? This quote left me more confused than satisfied, and I mostly gave up on exploring this concept of servant leadership, instead trying to be a more vocal and authoritative leader, hoping to gain respect this way.
However, I did not find the respect that I craved through this method of leadership. Instead, I found that people were intimidated by me, and did not find me very relatable. I did a bit of soul searching, and came back to this quote. I thought about the people who I respected and wanted to work for, and found that it was people who showed me love and helped me to feel good about myself. I did not want to serve a domineering and intense leader myself, so why would I believe that other people would want to serve me when I acted like this?
Through my experience as a leader on my basketball team I have found that the best way to have a happy and successful team is to be a true servant to your teammates. Showing people you care about them and will help them in times of need means so much, and people are willing to fight for those they care about and who care for them in return.