Servant Leadership

As I mentioned a few months ago, I’m in a Master’s program for Public Administration at GCU. I’m wrapping up a class on Servant Leadership, a leadership style developed by Robert Greenleaf in 1977. Since that time a number of researchers have tried to define the attributes of what a Servant Leader “looks like”. For me, the answer was simple – Jesus Christ. However, the business world needed more. Skip Prichard (2013) posted a unique summary of many of the scholarly attributes that he believes summarizes why leaders using Servant Leadership:

  1. Values diverse opinions
  2. Cultivates a culture of trust
  3. Develops other leaders
  4. Helps people with life issues
  5. Encourages
  6. Sells instead of tells
  7. Thinks you, not me
  8. Thinks long-term
  9. Acts with humility

The attributes of the Servant Leadership model focus the leader on the needs of the follower. When the organization’s goals are aligned with the employee’s and each individual understands his/her role and the expectations, the organization is set-up for success. It made me think about how we treat each other and how leaders influence other people. Throughout the class, many of my fellow students described some pretty amazing working environments taking place in 2014. At the end of the class we were asked, “should more leaders be using the concepts of servant leadership?” No matter where you sit in your career – leader or follower, after seeing this list I hope you answer the same as I did; with a yes. I wanted to share this little bit of research on the subject to see how we all can apply the principles of servant leadership to our lives.

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

When I’m asked about Jesus as a servant, my first thought always goes to the night of the last supper when He washed the feet of His disciples; nothing says servant like washing feet. Today, we heard in church about Jesus feeding of the thousands. A story we all are familiar with. What I heard today that caught my attention was that as that event ended, the people were asking Jesus to be their King. He wanted nothng to do with it and left immediately. He did not come to be served. He didn’t want earthly things. Every story we read about Jesus is how he served – healing the sick, feeding the hungry, turning water to wine at the wedding and teaching everyone the true meaning of the words His Father had written in the scriptures. The most important part of this verse is this: He came to “give His life as ransom for many.” He understood that and continued to serve others until His work was done. No matter what our place in life is, we can be comforted in the fact that Jesus died for us – a final act of Servant Leadership. We are forgiven through him and that’s what I call service!