What to Look for When Building a Servant Leadership Curriculum


“Building a servant leadership curriculum begins by identifying the attitudes, skills, and behaviors of a servant leader,” says Vicki Halsey, vice president of applied learning for The Ken Blanchard Companies. “Once you’ve identified what to teach and how to teach it, you can begin to look at the training modules you have in place and what you might need to add.”

As a part of a 13-city servant leadership executive briefing series, Halsey has worked with leadership, learning, and talent development professionals to identify more than 60 skills and attributes that should be part of a comprehensive servant leadership training program.

“Of course you have to take this a step at a time,” says Halsey, “and recognize that some of your desired outcomes are part of a mindset—attitudinal, while others are part of a skill set—behaviors that can be learned and developed.”

“Topping the servant leader mindset traits is empathy, closely followed by selflessness and humility,” says Halsey. “This is the recognition that leadership is not about you and your agenda.  It is about leading others to achieve their goals in order to achieve larger organizational goals in a collaborative way.  It’s about assessing people’s needs and providing the right amount of direction and support to help them succeed.”

The top servant leader skill set behaviors are task- or goal-specific listening, asking questions instead of telling, and focusing on how and when to develop others.

“These are skills that can be taught,” explains Halsey.  “If you want to be a servant leader, you must focus your energies on developing and practicing the behaviors of a servant leader.”

Halsey recommends that L&D professionals conduct an audit of their current leadership development curriculum and compare it against the complete list of attributes identified by learning professionals.

“Most organizations have some of the components already in place as a part of their current leadership development curriculum. But there are often a few competencies not on the list, such as advanced coaching skills, building trust, and self leadership, for example.

“When you compare your list with the complete list, look for gaps and consider how they might be addressed. Don’t overlook leadership basics,” says Halsey.

“Performance management concepts such as collaborative goal setting, situational specific day-to-day coaching, and effective performance reviews are still critical.  You are covering the same content—just from a different point of view.

“Once you have all of the pieces in place, the next step is to organize the content in a logical flow where leaders learn and practice basic skills in and out of context and then move to more advanced skills.  Along the way, keep working on encouraging a servant leadership mindset as you teach the servant leadership skill set.”

The world needs a new leadership model, says Halsey—one that focuses on both people and results.

“Engaged people and great results are not mutually exclusive—you can achieve both.  With some good design and consistent application, you can create an organizational culture where leaders see their job as serving others and also see goal achievement as a shared responsibility.”

Would you like to learn more about creating a servant leadership curriculum in your organization?  Join us for a free webinar!

3 Keys to Building a Servant Leadership Curriculum

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 9:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Servant leadership principles are being rediscovered by a new generation of leadership, learning, and talent development professionals. An others-focused approach where people lead best by serving first is being recognized as one of the best ways to unlock performance in today’s organizations.

In this webinar, instructional design expert Dr. Vicki Halsey, vice president of applied learning at The Ken Blanchard Companies, will share how to design, build, and launch an effective servant leadership curriculum. Drawing on her research and experience designing hundreds of training courses for clients worldwide, Vicki will share three keys to an effective curriculum:

Identify the key components of a comprehensive program. Halsey will share research on the attitudes, skills, and behaviors most associated with an others-focused approach to leadership.

Evaluate current gaps in existing training. A comprehensive curriculum includes self-awareness, listening, coaching, and performance management components. Halsey will show you how to audit your current classes and identify gaps.

Utilize effective design principles. An effective curriculum includes asynchronous and virtual training components as well as face-to-face components for interpersonal skills. Halsey will share how to match technology to content and how to create engaging learning experiences across all modalities.

Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions, explore options, and get answers about their own designs from Halsey’s expert instructional design point of view.

Use the link below to register.  This event is free, courtesy of The Ken Blanchard Companies.



About the Author

David  Witt

David Witt is a Program Director for Blanchard®. He is an award-winning researcher and host of the companies’ monthly webinar series. David has also authored or coauthored articles in Fast Company, Human Resource Development Review, Chief Learning Officer and US Business Review.

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