Lack of Servant Leadership

It is ironic that the downfall of many corporations is due to a lack of servant leadership mentality.  The Enron scandal, and the many Golden Parachute payouts are examples of individual greed.  In these cases, the higher up executives are not concerned with the company and it’s values, only the end reward, a huge paycheck for individual gain.  Ultimately, a servant leader has more followers and is not concerned with monetary means or rewards.  This type of leader shows humility, compassion for others, attractive charisma and is empowered to do “whatever it takes” for the good of the company and not themselves.  Phillipians 3:5 (NIV)  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”  This is a true servant leader.

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  1. Zachary Stephens says:

    In 2006 I started at Boise Bible College when there was brand new dorm for the girls and the foundation of the boys dorm had been completed. When touring the school in 2005 they said, “The boys’ dorm should be done by the time you start next fall.” That was right around the time that the economy was starting to feel some pressure. The boys’ dorm still isn’t done, but the school is still operating and functioning as normal with the help of the faculty. Each member of the faculty, administrators, teachers, aides, and so on, unanimously decided that rather than raise the cost of tuition to help pay for expenses during the financial strain, each of them would take a 10% pay cut. Looking back on my experiences in college I treasure the lessons of character, integrity, and grace that I learned from my professors just as much as Advanced Bible Doctrine, Biblical Interpretation, and Koine Greek.

    When I think of “golden parachute” leadership that has happened in recent times I think of legislations that have passed from which all legislators are exempt. How does that make sense? They are supposed to have the best interest of the people in mind, but when they make laws and rules and programs for the people the legislators don’t want to be a part of it. Why? Because they can be restrictive, expensive, and annoying. They are protecting themselves in case what they do as leaders doesn’t work out.

    Servant leaderships is more exponentially more effective. Jesus said that He, “did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Mark 10:45a). Jesus as a leader has influenced more people than any other leader ever. He inspired be people to follow Him and change their lives because He is a humble servant. He is an excellent examples for us as leaders to emulate.

  2. MOL510JT says:

    In John 10:11-13, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd sacrifices his life for the sheep. A hired hand will run when he sees a wolf coming. He will abandon the sheep because they don’t belong to him and he isn’t their shepherd. And so the wolf attacks them and scatters the flock.The hired hand runs away because he’s working only for the money and doesn’t really care about the sheep” (NIV)

    As leaders in church and business, we must be servant hearted. We cannot simply reach for personal goals, money or power. I have been blessed to be part of a church group that really gets this right. “It’s not about me” is a common mantra regarding difficult tasks others wouldn’t want to do. We have to step in to fill a need and lead. In business, it is far too common to see leaders aspiring to their own values and making decisions benefiting only a select few.

    Later in the book of John (21:15-17), Jesus asks Simon Peter if he loves Him three separate times. Simon Peter replies “Yes” each time and Jesus replies with, “then feed my sheep”. (NIV) It’s through the simple tasks done not in vain or obligation but done in faith that show Jesus’ love. Business is tough and sometimes decisions must be made. But even the most difficult decisions can be made and delivered with love, grace and compassion. If only Jesus was the model for most business leaders!

  3. MOL510DR says:

    I am astonished at some leadership I have been seeing in my own career. Instead of leaders standing up for their staff, I see them throwing their staff under the proverbial bus to get themselves ahead in their own career. What they are not understanding is that it simply makes them even more disrespected in the eyes of their leadership team.
    It seems that upper management only wants “yes men” who will bend to managements every whim; this is a disservice to the leaders moving up, or wanting to move up. Instead of fostering an environment where it is appropriate to disagree sometimes and advocate for yourself and staff, we have management who just does what “upstairs” tells them to do.
    This is discouraging for people at the bottom. Discouraging to see “leadership” like this, but also discouraging because those who wish to move up instead want to move on to a different company.

  4. air2ranger says:

    So many people get wrapped around the axle of how bad leaders truly are, and assume that everything they do is therefore bad. Don’t get me wrong, I complain about bad leadership as well, but I would challenge you to take this process one step further. What can we do to help make our leaders better? In my experience, very few leaders are trying to do a bad job. Most believe that what they are doing is the right thing, they have simply departed the path without realizing it, or have lost perspective because of the disconnect associated with their position. One approach is to try to determine why they are doing what they are doing, and is there a way to realign their decision making paradigm.
    I had a boss a few years ago who was simply awful, and I was really resentful of him. It always seemed like he was trying to work us to death just to make himself look better. After a lot of personality conflicts, a group of us sat down with him and were pretty honest with how we felt, and instead of making an emotional argument, we presented him with examples that reinforced our point. We then heard his side of the story. It turned out that he thought he was doing us all a favor by working to improve productivity in our department he wanted us to all get highlighted as superior performers. His thought was that it would make it easier to write us all glowing reviews and set up our careers to get onto the “fast track”. He didn’t realize the toll it was taking on us and while he still worked us hard, he was more upfront with us on where he was going with the team and why. He ran more ideas past us and let us participate in the discussion of how hard we could push ourselves and in what areas.
    Most issues with a “bad boss” come down to poor communication. I am not saying that every situation can be solved by talking it out, but I can safely say that nearly every one can be solved through good communication. Just food for thought the next time you get frustrated with “bad leadership” do some homework first and start with the assumption that they are trying their hardest, but simply missed the mark.

  5. MOL510MikW says:

    This is a great post. I have been struggling with a bad co-worker that likes to stick his finger in everybody’s business. He has other people do his work because he gets so bogged down in “other” tasks. I have sat down with him several times and he still doesn’t seem to get it. I even asked him how he viewed his leadership style and how others perceived him. His answer surprised me. He didn’t have glowing remarks about his leadership style. In my opinion, if that is the case why doesn’t he do something about trying to make it a more positive and effective. Sometimes I see him as the fable from aesop the Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

    A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market.
    As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them
    and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

    So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their
    way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See
    that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

    So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself.
    But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom
    said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little
    son trudge along.”

    Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his
    Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to
    the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The
    Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said:
    “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey
    with you and your hulking son?”

    The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They
    thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied
    the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to
    their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met
    them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one
    of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end
    of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and
    his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

    “That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:

    “Please all, and you will please none.”

  6. MOL510DK says:

    First of all, I would like to thank you for this post. I think the one thing that has been emphasized to me since I have been here at Colorado Christian is the importance of being a servant leader. I am a graduate assistant basketball coach and it is crucial for each individual to sell out for the team rather than worry about the needs of themselves. I believe that I have learned more about who Christ was by determining how he served on this earth. Mark 10:45 says “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” The only perfect man to walk the earth was serving others throughout his time here whether it was by washing feet or feeding others. I believe when any organization, company or team becomes focused upon my needs instead of everyone else’s needs, it is bound to fail. For many successful organizations, customer service and their employees’ needs are first and foremost. They put their customers’ needs and desires in front of a larger possible profit. I believe that more people need to look at ways Christ served his people throughout his life because he was the ultimate servant leader. First, he died on the Cross for everyone which is the ultimate sacrifice. Second, he felt that no person was greater or less than others. It seems to me that people who have high standing in our culture receive greater treatment than others especially in the workplace. Every person should feel valued at their company regardless of their position. Finally, I believe it is our duty to demonstrate Christ’s love and grace through serving others. I feel that in our current society servant leaders stand out. When we serve others around us in humility, they want to know why we are different and we can share Christ’s love, grace and mercy to others.

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