Garen Armstrong is a successful businessman in Kansas City. On his website, he describes himself as a Christian, entrepreneur, and business developer. Yet Garen Armstrong also describes himself first in his list of monikers as a servant leader.
The best description of servant leadership—and best example—was none other than Jesus Christ. He said in Matthew 20:27, “And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:”
Here are just four of Christ’s leadership qualities that teach us about servant leadership:
Practice What You Preach
Among Jesus’ fiercest enemies were the Jewish clergy. He said of them, “…whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” (Matthew 23:3)
Don’t be a “do as I say, not as I do” leader. Enforce on yourself the same rules you enforce on subordinates; whether it be proper uniform, honesty about start and quit times, or use of work time and resources. Some leaders may not abide by or enforce rules, which makes it tough for you as a boss (“The boss in the other section doesn’t make his workers do this!”) Don’t worry about other bosses. If they want to be mediocre, that’s on them.
Lead from the Front
Jesus said in Matthew 4:19, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” He fished after men and taught His disciples to do the same. He led from the front.
Lead from the front. Don’t do your subordinates’ work for them, spend some time with them, not to micromanage but to assist. This principle is especially important for hazardous jobs like police work. A story is told of a well-loved Cleveland police chief who went with the officers on a drug raid. He asked the supervisor if he could swing the ram to smash in the door. The boss responded, a little surprised, “You’re the chief. You do what you want.”
Stand for What’s Right, not What’s Popular
Jesus made it clear that following Him would have a cost. Some people weren’t willing to pay it, and they chose not to follow Him. He didn’t sell out principle for popularity.
As a leader, you sometimes have to be the bad guy who enforces discipline. As the saying goes, that’s why you get the extra pay. Your first job is to be a leader, not necessarily a friend. Your subordinates know that. Don’t let them manipulate you into compromising your principles.
Care about your subordinates as people
Christ cared about people. He helped, healed, fed, and most importantly, gave His life for people at all strata of society. His miracles were not reserved for the most important, nor for that matter for the least important.
That said, your subordinates are also people who may have personal and family problems you know nothing about. Try to get to know them personally. Don’t be nosy but show concern for their personal well-being as well as their job performance.