Words of Wisdom

Friday, October 14, 2011

Self-Serving Leaders Vs Servant Leaders

“Am I a servant leader or a self-serving leader?”  It is a question that, when answered with honesty in our heart, will go to the foundation of our intention or motivation as a leader.

One of the quickest ways we can tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader is how they handle feedback, criticism and comment, because one of the biggest fears that self-serving leaders have is to lose their position.
Self-serving leaders spend most of their time protecting their status. If you give them feedback, how do they usually respond? Negatively. They think your feedback means that you don’t feel like their leadership anymore.

Self-serving leaders who are passionate to influence, recognition and who are afraid of loss of position are not likely to waste any time or effort in training their replacements.

Another way to tell a self-serving from servant leader is how they approach succession planning.
Servant leaders, however look at leadership as an act of service. They hold close and welcome feedback as a source of useful information on how they can provide better service.

The journey of life is to move from a self-serving heart to a serving heart. We finally become an adult when we understand that life is about what you give, rather than what you get. Everyday leaders face hundreds of challenges to their intentions. Our adversary is waiting everyday to get us to be ego-driven, to be self-serving. Every day we must recalibrate our hearts. You’ll never be able to say, “Now I’m a servant leader, and I’m never going to be self-serving. We’re all going to be grabbed off course by our egos.

It’s easy to take for granted that you’re leading to serve your team and or your company when the decisions you make are good for the company.  It’s also very easy to rationalize decisions you make that put both you and your team in a good light as the decisions of a servant leader.

Ask yourself this question: “If you received absolutely no credit for the decision, would you make the same decision in the same way?”

If the answer is ‘yes’, then the decision is most likely a servant-leader one.  If the answer is ‘no’, the decision is most likely a self-serving one.

To successfully combat temptations to be self-serving, we need daily to surrender our motives and actions to Christ as our guide and roll model for how we should lead.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
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