Episode 9

Published on:

2nd Jun 2020

Serve first

Serve First: A Game Changing Soft Skill

Three potential outcomes of a leader learning to serve first:

1.      Those who serve first empower others to realize their potential. Having a leader that nurtures and inspires provides a safe environment for growth and development.

2.      Research continues to demonstrate that choosing to serve first has a positive impact not only in the way that teams flourish but also on how the companies or organization exceed expectations.

3.      Choosing to serve first has the potential for a positive influence on individuals, teams and beyond.. As organizations become healthier there is a positive impact within communities.  

The idea of serve first does not come naturally to everyone. But, the good news, is that it is a behavior that can be learned particularly as we see the benefits in our world today.

3 practical questions for you to consider if you desire to add this skill to your leadership soft skill toolkit.

First, ask yourself, “Who am I choosing to serve first?”

Second, ask yourself, “What outcomes do I see from those I serve?” 

Third, “What one way has my team flourished under the serve first model?”

Soft skills, like serve first, help clarify and refine your approach as you lead yourself and influence others.


Coming soon, Game Changing Soft Skills, a six week course taking you deeper into the soft skills that impact 85% of what makes you a successful leader. You can find me at www.healthyleadership.online. More to come.

Thanks to Ron Harvey. He can be reached [email protected]


n.d. (2016) Center for Servant Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.greenleaf.org/our-journey/

Northouse, P. (2019). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications

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About the Podcast

The Art of Leadership
The Art of Leadership focuses on soft skills... some of the hardest skills a leader will ever learn.
The Art of Leadership with Dr. Niña Ellison focuses on the soft skills of leadership, their value and the power of their influence. As a leader, if you are interested in moving from success to significance then balancing both hard and soft skills is essential!

Hard skills are demonstrated through technical expertise that results in clearly measured goals being reached. They are vital to the success of any initiative or program. On the other hand, soft skills emphasize the transformation of people. They highlight behavioral changes and making a difference in people’s lives.

This podcast is for leaders who are seeking a fresh perspective into some of the hardest soft skills a leader will ever learn. You can connect with Niña at https://www.ninaellison.com

About your host

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Niña Ellison

In 2019, after years of leading teams varying from international disaster relief and healthcare to the US Corporate world, Niña founded Healthy Leadership to focus on her passion for partnering with leaders in their growth and sustainability. Her own journey into soft skill development has convinced her that while her technical skills helped her get her foot in the door, her soft skills moved the influence of her leadership from success to significance.

As a soft skill specialist Niña takes monthly deep dives in her podcast series, The Art of Leadership, to explore the underlying dimensions of soft skills. She knows that soft skill development is not so much about WHAT but HOW a leader leads.
• From a 10,000 foot view a leader pursuing soft skills asks, “How do I problem solve; How do I manage time and energy?”
• From a 1,000-foot view that same leader, as they dig deeper into soft skills, begins asking questions like, “How do I listen; or How do gain self-control?”
• From Ground Zero the leader recognizes that there are underlying dimensions of soft skills as they ask, “How do I model respect for all; How do I sustain hope; How do I demonstrate appropriate love in the workplace; How do I maintain the right attitude?” How do I lead by serving?

Nina believes that behind every wildly effective and sustainable system and process are leaders and teams who have interwoven soft skills into every phase of their work.