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The Servant Leader - Listen First

Posted on | Mark Fruitt

For the month of November our virtue is Servant Leader. Our key verse is taken from Philippians 2:3-4. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” In order for a Servant Leader to be capable of looking at the interest of others, they must become good listeners. Below are two quotes from an article from Inc. Magazine entitled, “The Forgotten Skill That Will Make You a Better Leader,” where the author states the importance of listening for leaders.

In Robert Greenleaf's legendary essay, The Servant as Leader, he said that "only a true natural servant automatically responds to any problem by listening first."

"Leaders who take organizational conversation seriously know when to stop talking and start listening. Few behaviors enhance conversational intimacy as much as attending to what people say. True attentiveness signals respect for people of all ranks and roles, a sense of curiosity, and even a degree of humility."

During this month, Coach Spain and I will be teaching Active Listening skills during our class meeting times. Read any research on Active Listening and they all list 4 – 6 characteristics of good listeners.

  • They maintain eye contact
  • They don’t interrupt
  • They ask questions
  • They repeat what the speaker says
  • They listen for total meaning

A few things you can do at home to reinforce the skill of listening are:

  • Read stories to your child. 
    Ask him or to predict what will happen next. The prediction requires your child to listen to the details to make a logical guess.
  • Cook with your child. 
    Read the recipe to him having him listen to and follow each step to complete the recipe correctly.
  • Have conversations about things your child is interested in. 
    This gives your child a chance to engage in a real conversation, practicing both speaking and listening.

As always, thanks for giving PDS the opportunity to partner with you.



Servant Leader-Calendar-EC-2020.pdf.pdf
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Servant Leader-Calendar-Elem-2020.pdf
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Mark Fruitt

Mark Fruitt serves as Elementary Principal and Director of the Building Boys, Making Men program at Presbyterian Day School (PDS), an independent school serving boys in grades PK-6 in Memphis.

Born and raised in Memphis, Fruitt earned his undergraduate and master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Memphis. Before coming to PDS in 2004, he served as a teacher, head varsity boys basketball coach, assistant varsity football coach and Dean of Students at First Assembly Christian School. Also during this time, he served as director of the family life center at First Assembly of God Church.

Over the years Mark’s professional development has included Project Zero at Harvard, Leading Today’s Changing Middle School, the National Association of Independent School Conference, and many others. He has also attended numerous coaching clinics, including: Alabama, Penn State, Nebraska, and Indiana to name a few.

Mark was awarded the Most Valuable Teacher Award while teaching at First Assembly and earned coach of the year honors in 2000. Mark enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf, and reading. Mark is married to Amy and they have one daughter. They are members of Hope Presbyterian.