As you move up the corporate ladder, take on more responsibility and experience more success, it’s easy to slip into a focus on having more power, more prestige and more money. Our culture encourages that line of thinking and we see plenty of examples around us of people who operate with this focus in their careers.
The question you have to ask yourself is, will having these things make you a leader worth following.
As Leadercast speaker, Andy Stanley, put it, the value of a life is measured in terms of how much is given, not how much is accumulated. True leaders – leaders who endure and make a lasting impact in the world – have a servant’s heart.
Nehemiah demonstrated a servant’s heart.
- He put his life and reputation at risk by requesting leave from his position as cupbearer to the king to help his fellow Jews rebuild the wall around Jerusalem.
- He left a comfortable environment where he had authority and all of his needs were met to travel through the wilderness to a place that was lying in ruins for over 100 years.
- He encouraged and led the people of Jerusalem to rebuild the wall around their city in the face of opposition from their enemies and threats of attack.
A little over 400 years after that, Jesus gave us the ultimate example of servant leadership.
- He came to heal the sick, to proclaim good news to the poor.
- He had no place that He could call home as He journeyed from village to village pouring Himself out for others.
- He made the ultimate sacrifice, taking on the punishment for our sins by being beaten and nailed to a cross. He gave His life so that we could have everlasting life.
Jesus came to serve us so that we could have victory over sin and live life in abundance until it’s overflowing … so that we can serve others out of the overflow with which we are each blessed.
How can we be servant leaders? If you attended the 2014 WorkMatters Leadercast, you no doubt have a long list of ways to use your influence and resources to serve others. If you didn’t, here are just a few ideas.
- Build trust – Trust is the foundation of the strong relationships necessary to help one another grow. To build trust, it is necessary to give respect.
- Listen – We hear about listening a lot, yet this is probably the one skill we all need to develop the most. Listen with the intention to understand others, their needs and what they have to offer.
- Empower others – Show the people around you that you believe in them by delegating decision-making to them when appropriate (this works with your children, as well).
- Lend a helping hand – Help others learn and develop as leaders, and connect with opportunities. As Andy Stanley has said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.”
“If your leadership is not all about you, it will live beyond you.” Andy Stanley, Leadership Communicator and Best-Selling Author,Leadercast 2014.