Are you a servant-leader or a self-serving leader? (171-2)
God instructs leaders to protect their team and teach them how to live better lives. Read Ezekiel 22:30.
Chapter 22 contrasts the poor leader with the godly leader. Verses 24-29 describe a poor leader and verse 30 contains a good description of the kind of leader God looks for. This verse indicates God is looking for leaders who will serve their team. The unfortunate element of verse 30 is that after looking around ancient Jerusalem for this kind of leader, God found none.
What is servant-leadership and why is it so rare God could not fine one in ancient Jerusalem? There is a pretty clear picture when the two words are defined and the definitions are put together into one. The simple definition for the word servant is “somebody who serves another especially with ordinary tasks.” The simple definition of leader is “somebody who has influence over others to guide and direct them.” Therefore a very simple definition of a servant-leader is “someone who serves those they have influence over while they are guiding and directing them.”
A little more formal definition found in Wikipedia is “Servant-leaders achieve results for their organizations by giving priority attention to the needs of their colleagues and those they serve. Servant-leaders are often seen as humble stewards of their organization’s resources (human, financial and physical).”
Bottom line – servant-leaders give high consideration to the needs of their team while they are providing leadership.
Robert K. Greenleaf, in his classic essay, The Servant as Leader, described the servant-leader in this manner:
The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.
The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?
Obviously the servant-leader and the self-serving-leader in pure forms would have leadership philosophies that are complete opposites. According to Ezekiel chapter 22 God values those on the servant-leadership end of the scale and they are rare and very hard to find. The question Christian leaders need to ask is, “Do I desire to follow Jesus and be His disciple?” If so the only way for that to happen is to make a commitment to do as He did and expend our energies in service of others.
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