The Servant Leader (Third and Final Part)

the-servant-leaderIn its succeeding Chapters titled respectively as The Head, Hands, Habits, and Conclusion, you will find even more of the useful if not valuable lessons on Servant Leadership.

For ready reference, I am reproducing below some of these lessons, which I am certain will be worth reading even though a bit lengthy:

The Head

  1. Servant leadership begins with a clear and compelling vision of the future that excites passion in the leader and commitment in those who follow.
  1. If everyone does not understand your purpose or is not excited and passionate about it, your organization will begin to lose its way.
  1. A clear purpose or mission provides direction. Without clear direction, your leadership does not matter.
  1. Fewer than ten percent of organizations around the world have clear, written values. But values are important because they drive people’s behavior while they are working on the purpose and the picture of the future.

4.1.    Most organizations that do have values either have too many values and/or they are not ranked. Research shows that people cannot focus on more than three or four values if you really want to impact behavior. Also, values must be ranked to be effective. Why? Because life is about value conflicts. When these conflicts arise, people need to know what value they should focus on.

  1. What are the key values of your organization? How are they ranked in order of importance? True success in servant leadership depends on how clearly values are defined, ordered, and lived by the leader.
  1. As a leader, let your people know what is expected so they can excel.
  1. Jesus was really clear about the vision for His ministry. He was clear about the final exam.

7.1.    And once a leader’s vision is clear, once the final exam is set up, then a leader initiates day-to-day coaching. You prepare people to be able to pass the final exam, to live according to the vision.

7.2.    Leadership is not about power, it is not about control. It is about helping people live according to the vision. It is the vision – the purpose, picture of the future and values – that everyone should serve.

  1. Servant leadership starts with a vision and ends with a servant heart that helps people live according to that vision.
  1. Servant leadership starts within the relationships closest to you.
  1. A servant leader in the image of Christ must be by nature a truth-teller and a realist. Honesty in communicating the price to be paid for serving and living out the values of servant leadership is a crucial test of the integrity of the leader.
  1. Remember that Servant Leadership Involves…
  • Setting the vision
  • Defining and modeling the operating values, structure and behavior norms
  • Creating the follower environment with partners in the vision
  • Moving to the bottom of the hierarchy with service in mind

Hands

  1. A key role servant leaders often play is facilitating necessary changes.
  1. As a servant leader, you have to identify which changes are necessary to implement your vision, and then help people move in that direction.
  1. Another key element of being a servant leader is to consider people’s development as an equal end goal as their performance.
  1. As a servant leader, the way you serve the vision is by developing people so that they can work on that vision even when you are not around. The ultimate sign of an effective servant leader is what happens when you are not there.
  1. A key activity of an effective servant leader is to act as a performance coach. When Jesus called them to follow Him, He pledged to the disciples His full support and guidance as they developed into “fishers of men.” This is the duty of a servant leader – the ongoing investment of the leader’s life into the lives of those who follow.

Habits

  1. Before something can become a habit, it must first be practiced as a discipline.
  1. A wise person once said, “Life is like a tube of toothpaste: you never know what is inside until you are squeezed.” In times of personal crisis, you have to call on the resources of faith that you have already stored up.
  1. The antidote for fear and pride is faith in God’s unconditional love for us. The true servant leader is one who clearly understands what unconditional love is all about and puts it into practice every day.
  1. Servant leaders understand that everyone needs to be heard, praised, encouraged, forgiven, accepted and guided back to the right path when they drift off course. As leaders, we need to practice these behaviors. Why? Because Jesus did!
  1. We do the best we can – we plan, we strategize, we act – but still we all need some outside information to help us see how we are doing.
  1. We all need trusted truth-tellers, preferably those not directly impacted by what we do, who can help us keep on course.
  1. Too often in organizations, self-serving leaders cut off feedback by killing the messenger. Eventually the anti-feedback leader gets blindsided even though people were available who could have given helpful information.
  1. Feedback is a gift.
  1. Even great leaders like Moses can fall victim to their own blind spots. When they do, their effectiveness and credibility as a leader can be impacted unless they have people in their life who have been given permission to call them to task when they get off track.

Conclusion

  1. Leadership is not something you do to people; it is something you do with people.
  1. Jesus is the master of the art of living and leading as an act of service. He loves it when you call on Him. He is only a prayer away as your leadership guide and inspiration. You are not called to lead by yourself.
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