I worked on a team with two collaborators to teach a student organization at the University of West Florida about servant leadership as part of graduate-level coursework in the Strategic Communications and Leadership program at the University of West Florida.
My team chose to conduct a workshop to the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) due to the organization’s role as student-athletes. This student organization is a required departmental organization, rather than voluntary as many student organizations are. Due to this longstanding service to student-athletes and the community, the team decided that this workshop would provide beneficial leadership information to the students.
We discussed servant leadership with the students due to the concept’s empirically proven success in coaching athletes as leaders. Servant leadership is characterized by leaders who:
- Are motivated by a passion or cause
- Prioritize a group’s goals over personal goals
- Create a community
- Focus on the whole of the group, rather than part
The team had one learning objective, which was for the members of SAAC to demonstrate the ability to identify key terms of servant leadership. This learning objective was met by presenting personal examples of servant leadership, lecturing on famous servant leaders, and conducting a leadership activity. These elements were utilized because they:
- Met the audience’s need for physical movement
- Helped to foster and create a new generation of leaders in the organization with defined leadership skills
- Allowed the audience to connect with the training team on a personal level
- And create an honest and open learning environment
At the conclusion of the workshop, an assessment was done to measure the team’s achievement of the learning outcome set forth. Results to multiple choice items are as follows:
- 11/11 participants marked that they have a great understanding of servant leadership
- 10/11 participants strongly agreed that the material was presented in a clear, and easily understandable manner. 1/11 participants strongly disagreed (however, all other responses on that specific survey were positive, so the team believes this answer was selected in error.
- 11/11 participants rated the overall experience of the workshop as excellent.
In addition to multiple choice responses, participants were also invited to write in feedback to the team. Highlights are as follows:
- “Be more supportive of my teammates and make sure they are performing at their best outside of practice.”
- “(I will apply servant leadership in) any type of group work. Working as a group is much easier when all of the members feel equal and valued.”
- “I’m going to be more of a servant leader at work. These techniques were very useful.”