Does is sound foreign to you for a leader to be a servant? I think probably in most cultures this seems like an odd thing to do. If I am the leader then I should be dictating what happens and making sure everyone is doing what they have been told to do. Well yes, that is true, but I believe it involves so much more than just being a dictator and ordering people around.
Servant Leadership is about a man humbling himself to put the needs of others above his own. Are you a husband, it’s your wife and kids. If you’re a supervisor or manager it’s your employees. I want to make sure those I am put in charge of have their needs met first and I authentically show them I care about them. This may mean I have to humble myself and do things I don’t really want to do, but because I am committed to being real and authentic I suck it up and do it. There’s an old saying that “more is caught then taught”. I believe this is true and in so many areas of life. As a parent kids see so much of what we do and often it’s the things we don’t want them picking, they end up emulating.
I believe when you start losing sight of this, you become a dictator who barks orders and forgets about putting others before yourself. You essentially want your own way and use people to get that accomplished. I don’t see how this demonstrates to others you’re genuinely concerned about them. We’ve all seen dictators and I am sure we can all recall someone who has been a dictator or tyrant in our own life. It’s never any fun to work with someone like this, because his or her number one concern is “I” and how “I” get ahead and use whatever means it takes to carry out this.
As a man who wants to be real and authentic across the board (wife, kids, employees, friends), I try extremely hard to put the needs of other ahead of me and make sure they are taken care of first. It can be as simple as letting others go before myself when eating, taking out my trash at work or listening to what everyone else has to say before I share my own thoughts and ideas. As a supervisor at work I never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. There have been many times I have rolled up my sleeves and cleaned or did some task alongside staff or even by myself to prove this. Did I do it to gain approval, not at all, I did it because I believe it’s the right thing to do.
Even at home, while I am the leader of my home, I constantly attempt to show this to my wife and kids. I am not perfect at it. There are plenty of times I don’t do a good job, I fail and act selfish. I also know it’s the rigth way to love my family and I get up and do it again and again. It’s my top priority that my family knows they are extremely valued, cared for and loved. I constantly think of ways to show them their needs are important and that is no easy task in my house of 8 people. Most of the time our kids are focused only on themselves and think little of others. I continue to impress upon my kids the importance of putting others before themselves. In this “me focused” society, I want them to know they are not the center of the world. They and important however there are more important things than always having your own way. Really it’s no different for me or anyone else. If people are valuable, which they are, put them first and you will be surprised the rewards you reap from living a life of serving others. This doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t need to take a break and get recharged, but always thinking others are more important than myself, I have found in my experience it makes my relationships with others so sweetie-fresh.