by MEGS S. LUNN
A True Servant Leader
A True Servant Leader
“When we have enough sensitivity, we will know how much the world needs servant leaders conformed to God’s will to serve.”
One had to look deeper into the hearts of many aspirant leaders who have periodically been declaring their intent to serve in many ways – from misleading to desperate and extravagant. Most of us know how much graft money goes into their accounts but the mouths of suffering poor Filipinos. I wonder if before they seek public office, did they asked themselves how much resources, time, and efforts will they spare and sacrifice in order to serve selflessly?
As to Max DePree, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.”
Leadership is always an issue that affects all of us. Leadership begins from within (Bender, 1997). Character is what kind of people we are. In servant-leadership, this means a fundamental commitment to serving others with integrity and humility.
Pres. Noynoy Aquino in his inaugural speech said, “KAYO ANG BOSS KO.” This sounds servant-leadership. More importantly, this remains an echo to all of us. All the time, we are watching his every move and decision-making. We are likewise intently watching his cabinet members. In every step that they might take, there are criticisms and feedbacks. People can’t wait to see the reality check of “KAYO ANG BOSS KO.”
In school, students are trained to become good leaders. There, they start to serve their fellow schoolmates. They show them how to do this and that. This may sound bossy. However, in reality, they actually boss themselves and end up doing what they asked for. It’s a rare case that we can see a leader who also serves us at the same time. Its how a leader “holds a broom and shows his followers how to sweep the floor.” This is what I mean of servant leadership.
Jesus said in the bible, “Whoever wants to be first, must place himself last of all and be the servant of all.” (Mark 9:35). Servant leadership for Christian congregations is defined “as a democratic philosophy of guiding stewardship that values the responsibilities, interests, and abilities of all affected parties, and actively encourages their full involvement in planning and decision-making through study and open discussion toward consensus. The Christian servant leader is one who, recognizes God’s sovereign will over all, leaps to do that will with the help of the Holy Spirit.”
In the book How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It by James Kouzes said, “being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take responsibility for the vision and direction of their organization or team, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership task.”
A good servant leader is one who invests in the welfare and development of his people. A leader with human touch, a leader who seeks to serve first before he is served.
There are three things to learn about servant leadership. First is seeing differences differently. People are of a diverse culture in one organization. The term “respect” of each other’s differences is the most crucial attitude a leader has to put effort into. There are people whom we also need to understand their differences. We are created equal in the eyes of God.
However, our differences make us a unique individual from each other. Therefore, this is a challenge for a leader to hurdle in order to succeed in a team, office or in an organization.
Second, investing in knowing our people is another key in servant leadership. Teach our people to acknowledge their skills and talent and what they can do to help us. It’s mutual trust and respect that make us work together in confidence to make things happen.
To our youth today, especially to those who seek political glory, please ask yourself, “Am I ready to be a servant leader? Do I have the courage, the will and the skill to be a servant leader?”
The power of God’s love will lead you into it. As Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, “Love until it hurts.” Use this love to serve others. Without asking the color of their skin, their political affiliation, their religion, and others. Make love as our guide to desire for truth, to see the good and the beautiful in others as much as ourselves.
A true servant leader has much to give, for we can’t give what we don’t have. If we understand our people’s needs, nothing should stand in our way to help them. In true servant leadership, there is so much to learn, unlearn and relearn. There is so much opportunity out there waiting for us to unfold. Leave our 4-glass-squared table in the 4-corners of our office and see for ourselves. What is in our mind? There are indeed more things to do but little time and resources? Then move we’re a_ _ off in that table and go to work.
Be a true servant leader and show our people we can lead the change in the world we want to see.
Third, I learned servant leadership is the power of experience. Helping people by being themselves and feeling what they feel, and seeing them thru together are the things that can happen to us as servant leaders. Teaching them to realize that they hold their destiny and with our presence and guidance, they will be happy to see it thru.
In Greenleaf’s terms, “broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts. Although this is part of being human, servant leaders recognize that they have the opportunity to help make whole those with whom they come in contact.”
Albert Schweitzer once said, “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: The ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” Hence, we must serve before we are served. /MP