It’s an ideal I want to pursue more than anything. Still, I have to admit – serving is also the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to get my head around. Here are just some of the reasons I’m struggling. Maybe you can identify with me:
- Being a servant requires sacrifice
- Being a servant requires more time with people
- Being a servant requires me to be selfless
- Being a servant may require me to give up my own agenda
- Being a servant requires me to be more observant
- Being a servant requires me to be more vulnerable
- Being a servant requires me to listen more carefully
- Being a servant requires me to know people beyond a surface relationship
Traditional leadership styles can avoid almost everything on the list. Managers can sit in their office and simply order people to do what they think needs to be done. I don’t want to discount the need for management, but that kind of leadership just won’t cut it any longer. The people that work for us and with us need somebody to be a difference maker – somebody to care.
I said earlier I am “struggling to get my head around” serving. Perhaps that is really the issue. Being a servant is not an issue of the head – it is a matter of the heart. It may be a pursuit of a set of ideals, but it has to first begin with one thing – one very fuzzy thing: love. Do we truly love our people – our employees – our coworkers – our followers? On the surface I would say that most of us would say, “Yes, we do.” But the question really goes one step further: Do we love our people enough to put our own comfort on the line?
They need us to care that much. If that’s what it takes, I choose discomfort. I choose serving.