Leadership is an inevitable need for any organization. Daft shares that “the best leaders, at all levels, are those who are genuinely interested in other people and find ways to bring out the best in them” (Daft, 2017, p. 23). This philosophy continues to define the difference between a manager and a leader. When a manager’s behavior is observed to reflect this statement, the leadership above him should take note. This behavior is an indicator of an individual who has the potential to move further up throughout the organization.
Take the above picture of a van being pushed in the mud. Not knowing the situation, we are left to imagine what led to this moment. For the leader who struggles with being a servant, it would be easy for them to be the person inside demanding others to push. Yet imagine a servant leader getting out and asking another to steer so he and the others could get dirty and push. Perspective changes everything. Perspective can change a follower into a leader.
Jesus portrayed this as He washed His disciples feet found in John 13. An incredibly humble act.
Check out these words from Jesus to his disciples. I imagine this was a pivotal moment in their leadership development.
John 13:14-17 ESV
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.
In pastoral leadership, this philosophy holds equally steady. There are individuals within ministry who are simply managers trying to get the daily tasks complete and using volunteers to do so. However, the inverse of this is accurate as well, where there are those in ministry who are willing to sacrifice some of the outcome’s quality if it meant that volunteers and leaders under them had opportunities to grow and develop on a personal level. When leaders develop this skill, they become invaluable to the organization they are part of. A people-focused leader will be able to accomplish more within the context of ministry because it follows the example of Christ to lead people in ways that deepen their relationship with God. Helping see individuals grow into their potential is an incredible way to accomplish this.
Can you share a time a leader put you first? What impact did that have on you?
This post was originally posted as an assignment in my MOL studies and modified for the blog medium.
Daft, R. (2017). The Leadership Experience (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.