To embark on a journey to be a leader is to venture down a road of discovery to understand the fine line between influence and fear. Every individual is familiar with both and susceptible to both, but most have a tendency to respond to fear more readily and with greater commitment. Leaders learn this very quickly and are faced with the temptation to use fear as a motivator to accomplish the goals they desire to accomplish.
A different response to fear is service through the servant leadership model. Servant leadership is focused primarily on the innate desire individuals have to serve others through their leadership. Servant leaders are set apart from other leadership models by their desire to care for others by making sure their highest priority needs are being served (Greenleaf, 2012). Servant leaders are quickly identified by the growth of their followers, becoming healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and more like servants themselves (Greenleaf, 2012).
Servant leadership holds a clear resemblance to the leadership exemplified by Jesus in his ministry. Jesus taught to deflect fame and recognition for righteous acts (Mt. 6:1-7), while also serving people in extraordinary ways. His leadership was focused on glorifying the Father (Jn. 13:31) while also improving the lives of the people he encountered. Jesus’ was compelled by love to care for people.
The Apostle Paul captured Jesus’ servant leadership model in 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter regarding love. Paul commands that love is patient, kind, rejoices with truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. When servant leaders are in place and live out this model of love set by Christ, everyone benefits. Organizations that adopt a servant leadership culture are committed to helping others and caring for the community (Northouse, 2012).
Greenleaf, R. (2012). The Servant as Leader. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.