Servant Leaders: Lifting Others Up As We Lead

Jacqueline GoodburnBlog, Lead Better

In This Post:

  • Valuing servant leadership in our educational setting.
  • Reflection questions to consider your leadership.
  • Inspiration to go forward and lead others through service.

In a society full of selfies, trophies, and competition, there are servant leaders among us. The goal for a servant leader is for everyone around them to be better because the leader is in his or her position within the organization.

Are people growing? Are they developing their talents and becoming more themselves?

This may seem like a daunting position to assume in today’s world, but it is one that the world really needs. Let’s consider how this might apply in our work.

By serving our fellow teachers and their students through sharing our success stories and great ideas, we teach our students about community. They learn that we rise together. Click To Tweet

Scroll through your photo gallery app. Which way is the camera facing most of the time?

Be sure to turn that camera to face the world around you! Every educator has the same goal: To make ourselves obsolete. It’s a unique trait of our work. Many people strive to be irreplaceable. Teachers strive to be unnecessary!

We must transfer what we can to our students knowing that they will continue their journeys without us by their sides. Snapshots of student growth and progress should decorate our photo galleries! We can celebrate our selfies when we are able to be learners and collaborators in our work. This choice to turn the camera around is a shining example to our students that, in addition to developing their own photos, they should also look for and celebrate the beauty and talent in those around them.

Why competition among educators? We may have different roles, but we have the same goals!

Like all people, educators deserve recognition and appreciation. The tricky part is making sure that praise yields collaboration and mutual appreciation, and not a culture of competition.

If great ideas and strategies are stored in classrooms, all of our students won’t benefit from these classroom victories. By serving our fellow teachers and their students through sharing our success stories and great ideas, we teach our students about community. They learn that we rise together.

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Lastly, don’t be afraid to be amazing!

Your shine does not have to cast a shadow, but rather it can light the way for others! I will share Marianne Williamson’s words here because there’s no better description than this stanza from her poem, Our Deepest Fear.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

I humbly ask now that you shine brightly in service of others who will see the next best version of themselves in your light. By doing so, you share that spark with your students and your colleagues. Light the way!


Jacqueline is currently the Director of Staff Development at Burgettstown Area School District. We are a “Small town with a Big Heart!” I earned degrees and credentials from Penn State University, Robert Morris University, and Duquesne University. I spent ten years working in social services before transitioning to education. My belief is in servant leadership, and I strive to support our teachers through professional development that offers choice in timing, topic, and delivery as well as opportunities for teacher to teacher training. In order for our teachers to shine, they must be at their best, so I also run Mindful Moments groups and other wellness activities that keep us connected. I believe that our teachers are the most important component in learning, and my role is to offer strategies and support so our students have the very best practitioners working with them.