Servant leadership. Notice what comes first - servant.
Servant leadership is the best way to lead. How do I know? Because that's how Jesus led. It says in Matthew 20:28 that...
"For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many."
Some leaders lead with fear. They intimidate and display fits of anger when needed.
Some leaders lead with force. They push their agenda (which is usually an agenda of elevating themselves and pushing others down). They are like Pharaoh, driving his army into the Red Sea. Not caring who gets hurt or injured along the way.
Some leaders lead with their title. They try to use their title as leadership leverage. But people don't follow a title...at least not long-term. Instead, they follow someone they love and respect.
Some leaders lead with finances. They try to buy people's love and respect. The problem? Great team members don't make money their first determining factor if they are going to work for someone or not. Instead, they are looking at how their potential boss leads and what the culture of the organization is.
So many times, Jesus modeled servant leadership for us. None more effectively than washing the disciples' feet. They arrive and go into an upper room of the house. They anticipate a servant coming through the door to wash their feet. That was expected in that culture. A lowly servant of the house would come and wash the dirt and grime off of people's feet when they arrived.
But not this time...no servant from the house appears. There is no one to fulfill one of the lowliest tasks in the kingdom. I can see the disciples awkwardly looking at each other...no one wanting to take the posture of a servant.
While this is happening, Jesus goes and gets a basin, fills it with water and grabs a towel. He then begins to wash the disciples' feet. Showing them by example what it means to be a servant leader.
When we use the term "servant leader," notice what word comes first. I mentioned it at the beginning of this article. It's the word word "servant." The best kind of leadership starts in serving others. As a servant leader, you are a servant first.
A servant leader empowers others rather than trying to be powerful.
A servant leader meets the needs of others before himself / herself.
A servant leader doesn't walk above others, he or she walks beside others.
A servant leader creates stars rather than trying to be a star.
A servant leader motivates more than he / she manages.
A servant leader demonstrates humility rather than hierarchy.
A servant leader demonstrates loyalty rather than by demanding it.
A servant leader helps others grow rather than pushing others down.
A servant leader uses his / her ministry to build up others instead of using others to build the ministry.
A servant leader listens more than they talk.
A servant leader persuades people rather than pushing people.
Can you imagine how the disciples must have felt that night when Jesus demonstrated what it means to being a servant leader? I can, because there are times when I consider my own needs before the needs of others. There have been times when I should have been listening instead of talking. There have been times when I have pushed rather than persuaded. There have been times when I led by pride rather than humility.
If you can identify, my prayer is we will be committed to leading like Jesus. Servant leader. It's the kind of leadership than can change the world.