Servant leadership is a term often used to describe serving others while leading. While some might say the term is an oxymoron and has ambiguous meaning, I’d like to share how I saw this practically lived out.
Two weeks ago, we hosted our largest event of the year, WorkMatters Leadercast, for the 13th year in a row. The event typically hosts around 1900 attendees with a volunteer staff of 75 people.
At this event you can find our volunteers doing mostly anything from serving Chick-Fil-A chicken minis to attendees to gathering the trash and recycling all throughout the day. But the lowliest task among these responsibilities is always bathroom duty.
Rallying bathroom volunteers is like pulling teeth. However, this year among the bathroom volunteers was one of our board members who happens to be the CEO of a well-known bank.
Throughout the day, you could find this man wearing his volunteer T-shirt and rubber gloves as he wiped the counters, re-filled the toilet paper, took out trash and of course, wiped the seats and cleaned up as needed. All of this while missing a day of leadership content that could have benefited his leadership greatly.
This act humbled me and many others. More importantly, it caused me to really take a hard look at the way I lead and think through what it means to be a true servant leader.
Here are three specific applications for you to consider for your servant leadership at work:
- Are not insecure and caught up in rivalry or competing with others. Instead, they are secure in Christ and realize life doesn’t revolve around them but with others. (Philippians 2:3-8)
- Are not driven by manipulation or control, but letting others grow and succeed. (1 Peter 5:3)
- They are great listeners and have a quiet confidence. They don’t have to have the first and last say in every meeting or conversation. Instead, they listen to others and add tremendous value when they do give input. (Proverbs 17:28)
Servant leadership is hard. Our culture is constantly pushing us in the opposite direction. But not only is it the right way to lead, it’s the way that Jesus led.
Do you want to find true purpose in your work? Lead like Jesus.