IN Peter Temes’ remarkable book, The Power of Purpose, he gets to a fundamental point of servant leadership right from the get-go. He writes:
Imagine the man or woman who looks at the world and understands, this is when I should push, here is the opportunity to reshape the world in some small way, and knows too when to say, here is when I must step back, here is when my desire has to yield to patience. The real power lies in being able to see both visions.
He’s writing about the balance between ambition on one hand and humility and patience on the other. Being able to read a situation is fundamental to this balance and it comes from having both self-knowledge and a quality best described as mindfulness. This is the essence of servant leadership; an outward focus.
(By the way, if you are interested in looking into the topic of mindfulness, Mindfulness by Harvard professor Ellen J. Langer is well worth your time.)