People will recognize a true leader by how they serve not by what they say. If you have to say you are a servant leader then you are probably not.
A true servant leader has humility and focuses on the cause not their ego. There is no thought for power or control, it is just what needs to be done to see the cause advanced. There is almost a reluctance to take on a positional leadership role, but they will if that is the best thing to be done for the cause then they will lead.
There is strength in humility.
The reward of a servant leader is to see the job done. The legacy they leave for others is a good example to follow.
Humility – is the mark of a true leader
There are so many different viewpoints, value systems and ideologies in the world.
Just because someone is different from you, or disagrees with what you say, doesn’t give you or me the right to judge them.
I am a follower of Christ, I make no apology, I have not been appointed judge (thank God). I believe it is better to spend time to get to know people for who they are where they are.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
— Mother Teresa
Gospel of Matthew (new testament of the bible) says this regarding judging others
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
A true follower of Jesus Christ will live the model that he lead. He spent time with the outcasts, the sick, the “sinners”, the prostitutes, the demonised, the lepers , people from other cultures. Did he condemn them? NO!
The example that Jesus gave was to accept and love everyone that came across His path (again thank God for that, he accepted me). The ones He spoke hardest against were the religious intolerant people of the day. I wonder if it would be any different today – I think not.
We should be prepared to love people regardless of the persons current lifestyle, even if their values are different from our own. It is not for you, me or anyone else to judge. We are called as Christians to be the hands of Jesus in the world today. Those hands in the past reached out to heal, forgive, share food, give sight to the blind, to love unconditionally.
We can’t do that and judge people too.
Giving back to the community is important for many reasons, as it shares valuable skills to build a better society. It is not just about the task, it is about participation, succession and mentoring.
The work involved as a volunteer, I believe, should be treated with the same professionalism as your main occupation. A true volunteer is as committed to the task as a paid staff member, the difference comes in the motivation behind the activity. What many people call volunteer service is just casual labour without conviction of purpose.
“What’s in it for me” should not appear in the mindset of a volunteer especially as the leader.
So what motivates and empowers true volunteer-ism?
- Vision – clearly articulated
- Enabling leadership
- A clear strategy
- Clear communication
- The right resources
- Shared values
- Community purpose
It is not about personal recognition for the job that is done, it is about the fact that the job is done… BUT take note… If you as the leader do not take quality time to thank and acknowledge volunteers (personally) you will de-motivate them and discredit your organisation. Never take your volunteers for granted, a person who volunteers as a servant is not a slave.
Am I involved in this, absolutely, at various levels from national committee to local support and service groups. I get great satisfaction from knowing that people have been helped by the work I do as part of community organisation.
My challenge to you is to get involved where ever you can.
Surviving Leadership – for the follower.
As a leader it is vital to provide an environment to develop the capability of those who follow, even if it means them becoming greater and more successful than you the leader. People who follow will work for a cause, they can and will even make great sacrifices (voluntarily) for a great cause, but the cause should never be replaced by a person. The “cult of personality” has no place in leadership.
Leader remember this… You are not important, the cause is; get over yourself and work for the cause be prepared to get your own hands dirty and work. Never put rules or guidelines in place for others that you are not prepared to stick to yourself.
What environment does a follower need to be healthy?
- The follower must always be able to think for themselves.
- Must have the ability to question
- Must be free to choose who they follow
- The follower always has the freedom to say “no” without prejudice
- Follower does not mean “slave”
- The follower is free to leave
- The follower is able to (and does) question the leadership
- The follower may be right in what they think and say
- The follower may not have the same priorities as the leadership
- The follower deserves to be , and should be listened to
- The follower has the ability to see the big picture
- Never underestimate the ability of the follower
- Respect the boundaries of others
A leader is not there to manipulate commitment out of the followers or to coerce the followers into things they would rather not do. They are there to champion the cause, the purpose the organisation exists for. The leader needs to put their own personal agenda aside to focus on the bigger picture and vision.
A significant leader is someone who dares to stand alone to bring about significant change, to challenge injustice, or to address a need.
Where there exists institutional injustice or oppression a significant person who stands for what is right will always be seen a a rebel and a troublemaker, but undeterred by what they see around them they will stand for what is right, honourable and true. Such a person is a leader.
It is important to recognize that a title of positional leadership does not mean that the person with the title is a leader. A true leader will say and do what is right rather than what is popular. If a leader always does what is popular they are a follower not a leader regardless of title.
The significant leader is a person who will do what is right and will say what is right regardless of the consequence to themselves. Such a leader will lay down their role to see the vision fulfilled, walking away from any positional leadership to see someone else better suited take over applauding them in the process.
Paul S Allen