How do you define success? Is it tied to profitability and output? Is it about making more money or producing more than you did last year or in the past?

Profitability and output are certainly good barometers of progress. It is absolutely important that you build performance and improve your results on a consistent basis. If you don’t, you won’t be able to achieve your purpose and vision.


Success, however, for a servant leader is based on how well you are doing in building other leaders.

So how do you effectively do this?

It all starts with a mindset shift.

You may feel that as a leader you are responsible to provide all the answers. But remember, your job is not to provide the answers, it is to build leaders. If you find yourself as the answer machine, you are holding up the organization from reaching its full potential. There is no leverage in one person supplying all the answers. The potential of an organization will only be fully maximized when everyone is being developed and relied upon to use their brain to figure the best way forward!

This starts by establishing clear responsibility and accountability throughout the organization. Define people’s daily tasks, set weekly goals and communicate what progress looks like for them as individuals as well as the organization. From there, move people towards thinking about their preferred future to help them become leaders.

Great questions to ask include:

  1. What does success look like over the next 2 weeks? Month? Year?
  2. What plans do you have to achieve that success?
  3. What have you tried?
  4. What is working?
  5. What are other options you might consider?
  6. Who are you serving?
  7. What do those people you are serving value?
  8. How do you plan to recognize those you are serving?

Once you have started to shift people away from relying on you for all of the answers, the leaders you are developing will become more independent. Here are a few signs to make note of when moving in the right direction:

What to look for:

  1. People are taking accountability to make decisions without your input
  2. Things are getting done without your knowledge of the activity
  3. You are able to be away from the office or take vacation without having to check in daily
  4. You are excited, not offended when you are challenged
  5. People are not fearful of making a mistake and they learn from them
  6. You see leadership behavior throughout the organization

Developing leaders is a key purpose of servant leadership. It is extremely challenging, but very rewarding! The next time you feel compelled to provide all of the answers, start by asking the right questions.


“What did you go out into the wilderness to see?” Matthew 11:7