What would it look like if we adjusted our focus by leaning in to intentionally lead through the eyes of Jesus?
We could be ethical leaders, concerned with common good and positively influence rather than lead through power and control. Our organizations could be transformed in a positive way because doing what is right is the right thing to do. We could fully conceptualize our organizations and lead in accordance to its goals applying Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) “Do nothing out of selfish ambition …but in humility…” as we live and lead our 21st century organizations with a historical, biblical lens.
Setting your sights on Him and leading your organization in a way that glorifies God can ultimately be the greatest competitive advantage of all. The leadership that Jesus and Paul later exhibited are examples to incorporate into today’s organizations. These biblical principals are time-tested. Uncovering the principles or putting them into practice is not difficult when leaders see through a new lens.
“My hope is that someday people won’t talk about servant leadership because that will be the only type of leadership that will exist.”
Focusing on Servanthood
For most, leadership is not recognized as having a service component and begs the obvious question, how can I lead and serve at the same time?
The desire to serve comes without personal gain and not based on convenience but on conviction. In Phil 1:1, Paul did not refer to himself as an Apostle, but a servant. As Paul demonstrated, servant leadership was based on his desire to be attentive to his followers. He empowered the early church in order to grow them as a group, which in turn, grew God’s church.
The leadership characteristics that Paul displayed are congruent with servant leadership theory: having a standard of excellence, moral judgment, empathy, followership, collaborative, leads by example, obedient, humble, trustworthy, positive, firm belief in mission, unrelenting spirit, courage, sacrifice and service.
Even while imprisoned in Philippi, Paul continued to be a servant, emulating Christ’s commitment and service to His Father.
Servant leadership is a shared power.
Servant leadership is more about the deep seeded interest of serving others and putting other first. The relationships that servant leaders establish are strong and long-term. They look to raise their people up, empowering them to be and do their best.
20/20 Vision for Leaders
In order for followers in a servant leadership continuum to be successful, they too must be morally ready to be accepting of its practices. Leaders who choose to build a culture of servant leadership must make selections carefully. Servant leaders look to grow people long-term, behave ethically, and cultivate other servant leaders. By growing other servant leaders, the service-above-self mentality goes beyond the confines of our organizations and becomes rooted in our communities.
Becoming a good steward of servant leadership, to be nurturing, empowering, and leading with a moral compass becomes the example for followers to emulate. Organizational leaders must have a humble heart and show love to others as a way to serve their people and in turn, honor God. To look at others with His eyes and not to be quick to blame or put oneself above others, to forgive, and to admit mistakes are signs of humility.
Today’s leaders must be self-disciplined, work diligently, and be able to face opposition and hardship. For the Christian leader, this is done for the future reward of eternity with Christ not for the fast and furious immediate gratification that is often sought after in the world today.
So, how do you lead and serve at the same time? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear!
Until next time, keep doing great things!