The Servant Leader:
Being a leader is the main focus of many lessons we learn as we embark on our own path to our dreams. The idea that we have to step away from everything and be our own person is a powerful thing and concept that I held tightly to for a long time in my life. I didn’t ask advice from those I respected in my early life because I felt that it was sign of leadership and even of adulthood that I should be making my own decisions and following them through on my own. In recent times, I have found that my understanding of what it meant to be a leader was very different than what I had in my head.
The reality of it is simple; you can’t be a leader if there is nobody there to lead. If we are our own person and doing our own thing and living the life that we want, we can be an icon or an example, but we are not a leader. We have not taken an active part in other people’s lives and helped them to walk a road to their future. We have given them an idea of where they might want to go, but we leave the work to get there, up them. It is time to change this in my life, and I hope it is time in your life as well.
Now, we need to learn how to actually be a leader. A lot of people have held management positions and other positions of authority in their lives and learned how to direct people. Many will take that as what it means to lead people, but in reality that isn’t leading. The operating system of a computer is the system that controls everything else and defines how that system should work, but it is the person that is using the computer that is actually leading what happens. The leader isn’t there to manage the people around them; the leader is there to inspire those people and to point them at the goals and the steps to get there. The leader then lets those people use those tools to achieve those goals and offers insight and assistance when it can be best utilized.
This brings me to my thoughts on a Servant Leader. To me, this is the pinnacle of what it means to be a leader. As we step into this leadership role, we can use it a couple ways. The two that stick out most to me are the use of this to further our own ends, or to further the ends of the community that we claim as home. The first can still be a leader and work to create something that achieves their ideal. This is your CEO or business owner and they can be powerful forces in the world as they lead their people towards their goals. The leader that works to achieve the goals of a community is the person that does everything that they can within a community to help it grow and thrive in the world. They adopt the goals of the community as their own and strive to achieve those goals. Needless to say, this works out a lot better if the community that we choose to participate in holds the same values and goals as we do personally. This is the sort of leader we see in Mother Teresa and Gandhi. They use their leadership to help guide the community to growth and learning along its path in this journey.
Neither the Leader nor the Servant Leader is better or worse than the other, they are just different ways to walk to the path that we have laid out for ourselves to reach our own dreams. What kind of leader are you?