Christopher Smith MD Author


Learning to be a Good Leader: The Importance of Servant Leadership

Dear Dads,

No one is born a great leader. Leaders are made through hard work and dedication to serving others. The recent collapses of FTX and Theranos due to the actions of their respective leaders Sam Bankman- Fried and Elizabeth Holmes, are good examples of leadership run amok.  To truly be a good leader, a leader must first learn to put the needs of others before their own. Only by selflessly serving others can a leader gain the trust and respect of those they lead.

This concept of servant leadership is one of the most important traits a leader can have. The ability to put the needs of others before your own and to serve them in whatever way you can shifts a leader from good, to great. A great leader understands that they are not successful unless their team is successful. And that the best way to ensure success is by leading by example, and serving those around you.

Leadership is not about making yourself look good. It’s about making everyone around you look good. A true leader knows that it’s not about them, it’s about the people they serve.

At its core, servant leadership starts with putting others first. Its roots are in being humble and thinking of others before yourself. It means being willing to do whatever it takes to help others succeed. And it always puts the team first. 

Exceptional leaders understand that success comes from serving others. Your ability to put the needs of your team first inspires loyalty, respect, and trust.  And when you then lead by example, your team will be more likely to up their game and follow your lead.

To be an effective leader, you must be able to empathize with your team. Understanding the challenges they’re undergoing, and what motivates them lets you understand them at a deeper level. Only then will you be able to help them develop and reach their true potential.  

True leadership isn’t about control, and making sure your team stays in their lane. A good leader is always looking for ways to improve their team and their skills. They are constantly seeking out new opportunities for their team to learn and grow. By encouraging growth, a leader helps their team reach new levels of success and pride.

Someone I know who epitomizes excellent leadership is Cyd Rogers Tetro. While I have known her since middle school, she is currently the CEO at Brandless. She also led the largest successful capital raising ever by a woman CEO in the state of Utah. She has famously stated that:

 “When you get invited to the table, it is important you bring an extra chair with you.” 

Rogers Tetro beautifully summarized the idea of servant leadership: the idea that as you become successful and get new opportunities, you should try to bring others with you and lift them up, not tear them down!

Servant leadership is an integral component of being a successful, effective leader. There is no shortcut or way around it; if you want to be successful, you need to learn how to serve others.


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