In today’s mobile and less committed society, people have options about where they’ll work, volunteer, and go to church – and they speak with their feet. The leaders who aren’t skilled in the basics of Servant Leadership will look over their shoulders one day and find that no one is following them.
The early Christian church gave a stunning example of this style of leadership (see my message and video below for an in-depth discussion). One example from the Bible, Philippians 2:3-4 says,” 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 the others.
In God’s biblical design of leadership, the strong die for the weak.
I was recently moved by a quote from the book Resolution, “In the world, the strong take advantage of, and abuse the weak, using them for their own personal pleasures or advantage at the other’s expense. But in God’s biblical design of leadership, the strong die for the weak. Those in charge, lay down their lives for the ones under their care. The leader serves and protects. The more powerful or influential you are, the more humble, servant-hearted, and sacrificial you become.”
Robert Greenleaf is responsible for bringing servant leadership to the forefront for organizations today, and delivering the immense value (and competitive advantage) it provides. He says in his essay, “The Servant as Leader”:
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?
Larry C. Spears, who leads the Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, has extracted a set of 10 characteristics that are central to the development of a servant leader.
Can you imagine what our world would be like if every leader followed these principles?
Excellent Servant Leadership Books
My Servant Leadership Thoughts
The BEST Kind of Leader: Part 1
My Servant Leadership Presentation
A 30-minute talk at our church in the summer of 2012 entitled “The BEST Kind of Leader”. It makes the case for Servant Leadership and the Eternal Impact it can have. I’m not a preacher, but at least the content is solid!
Intro Video Click for the talk: Closing Video
The Office Tiger
Jesus Washing His Disciples’ Feet
Click for the talk:
·“If you have the guts to choose to be a Christian servant leader, there is a price tag, and it’s big. It takes years of study, dedication, courage, conviction, blood, sweat and tears to develop into a Servant Leader. But the payoff is HUGE, and literally eternal – if you lead the people around you in the way Christ demonstrated, you impact the “forevers” of your spouse, your kids, the people you work with, and the people who walk in the door of your church. Leading the way Jesus led, changes people’s eternities. Period.” – an excerpt from my presentation