“Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:26-28 (NKJV)
A lot of times, potential leaders and those who already are leaders believe that leaders must be served by their followers. But in actuality, the opposite is the truth.
We become leaders to serve. We lead purposely to serve our teams, groups, organizations and nations with our talents, knowledge, gifts and potential.
A lot of leaders have what I call the “serve me “mentality. However, leaders are called not to live a life of servitude though, but to serve with their potential.
A mango seed, planted in the soil germinates to become a tree with mango fruits on it. However, the mango fruits are not borne by the mango seed to be enjoyed by the mango tree. But rather, to be enjoyed by outside parties – in this context humans- and not by the mango tree. Hence, the mango seed when its full potential is maximized into a tree serves us with its fruits. In the same manner we can describe leadership to be of that sort.
Leaders are called to basically serve with their potential, and not to be served.
Servant leaders put their people first and help them to become the best they could be. A servant leader serves their people instead of waiting and wanting to be served by their people.
There are benefits to leaders choosing to serve their people in integrity, truth and love. Below are a couple of them.
When leaders serve their people, there will be growth of commitment and engagement of the people within their entity. People will be more committed and engaged within their entities when leaders genuinely serve their people.
Another benefit of leaders choosing to serve their people is the increase in productivity. When leaders are committed to genuinely serving their people, their people will in turn go the second mile in producing for their entities because they like their leader and the environment within which they find themselves in.
Lastly, another benefit of servant leadership is that it aids in culture formation within the very entities that leaders are part of. People do what people see, hence, when people observe their leaders serving them, they in turn will pick up that same value system and begin to serve one another over time. As time goes on, serving becomes the norm of their entity which ultimately will translate into one of the values within which the culture of their entities is formed.
According to Robert K. Greenleaf, “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 leads first.”
Servant-Leaders are what the world yearns for, because indeed, the pages of history depict all great leaders as having a servant heart to serve both God and humanity.
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