Brandi Crawford-Lavoie

In the first article I discussed what it means to have a servant’s heart and qualities of a servant leader. In this article I want to share some specific ways you can show a servant’s heart.

In “The Servant” by James C. Hunter he says be the boss you want your boss to be and I would add for the field of early childhood, be the director you would want at your child’s program. “Management is what you do, leadership is the person you are and the impact you have on others” (Hunter, 2012).  Servant leadership is about meeting the needs of those in your care, being their servant, not their slave. Simply put it is about taking care of others. How do you do this while trying to also run a business?

When I ask myself how I can have a servant’s heart, be a servant leader, I ask myself what I can give to others. Here is a list of some ways to serve those in your program; employees, students, and families:

  • SMILE! This one seems easy and a no brainer, but many times I see leaders working diligently and forgetting to smile. And don’t forget people can hear a smile on the phone.
  • Showing affection and love to the children when you greet them and when you say goodbye.
  • Show affection, love, and attention to the families at drop off and pick up times. Ask them how they are doing, pat them on the back, tell them to have a great day. These small gestures go a long way.
  • Ask a family or parent – How can I help? Instead of blaming, deflecting, or making excuses.
  • Be self -aware. Know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Let others see you serve.
  • No job is beneath you. Not only be willing BUT do all the jobs in your program including plunging toilets or changing dirty diapers.
  • Encourage others to serve. Allow others to serve.
  • Invest your time in people. Connect with the families, students, and employees. Ask them about their families, their jobs (parents), and most importantly show genuine interest.
  • Remember what you hear!!! Write it down, put a reminder on your calendar. Whatever works for you but remember a surgery, an interview, a family members big moment and then ask about it. You can’t just say you care- your actions must show it!
  • Facilitate the growth of your employees but do not do it for them. Encourage them to further their education, provide them with resources to grow in the field but you can’t make them take the class or apply for the scholarship.
  • Be consistent!!!

So now you have some ways to serve, what happens when the rains come, and it will come. How do you keep from becoming cynical, jaded or judgmental? First, PRAY! Pray everyday for your employees, your students, your families and yourself. Second, find support and lastly take care of yourself.

Kevin Hall said “Your gifts are not about YOU, Leadership is not about YOU, Your purpose is not about You.  A life of significance is about SERVING those who need your gifts, your leadership, your purpose.” You have a purpose. God has called you to this place to serve those in your program. Answer His call with a resounding YES and see how it changes the lives of those around you.


Hall, K. (2010). Aspire: Discovering your purpose through the power of words. New York: William Morrow.

Hunter, J. C. (2012). The servant: A simple story about the true essence of leadership. New York: Crown Business.