Leadership comes in many different forms. While I believe each has its strengths, I confess that I am most attracted to servant style leadership. With I think of the heroes in my life, well known ones and others that hidden in the footnotes of history, they all share a common theme. They loved to serve. On the occasions where I was able to see them in action, I cannot recall a time where they were looking for recognition or thanks. Service was, in and of itself, the goal. I never heard them speak about leadership. I did see others follow, modeling their approach and actions.
In the past few days, I witnessed servant leaders in action. In contrast to the booming voices around them, they quietly went into action. Multiple conversations, each with a “share the load mentality” occurred during the day. When others began to step out for dinner or a break, they quietly labored on. Their focus and attention said more than any words could have.
If I could sum it up, it would be something along the following lines.
They came and they could see.
In seeing, they could act.
In acting, they helped make a difference.
When I read how “Paul pitched in and helped,” (Acts 28.3) I know Paul had the heart of a leader. Leadership comes in many different shapes and sizes. Leadership is often misunderstood. Great leaders understand that to lead one must first serve. In doing so, action became real and hope is born. In hope, the impossible is possible.
I can see the birth of more servant leaders. It is as if the actions of the few influence that of the many. I did not hear any great speeches; I saw hard work. I did not see any grandstanding; I saw clusters of two and three sharing a journey. I did not see anyone reaching for personal glory; I saw the team lifted high.
I know servant leadership is not everyone’s preferred leadership style. I also know I am energized by the examples set in serving others.