10/11/2021 by Rev. Doug Walker 0 Comments
As seen in the HEARTbeat and the Village Voice
Leadership seems to be a constant in our lives. I say constant, but leadership is anything but constant. It is constantly changing, being questioned, and courses abound on the subject. Leading people is one of the more difficult endeavors anyone could undertake in their career lifetime.
Leadership used to be a position to which questions did not exist. In the late 1800’s into the 1900’s industrialization of our country blossomed. People went to work in the factories and experienced terrible conditions. The supervisor in that time was basically seen as a task master, not unlike those we read about during the nation of Israel’s captivity in Egypt.
Fast forward to the 1960’s where the role of a supervisor somewhat changed – yet not much. I can remember a conversation I had with a business owner who started his car company during these times. He admitted his early years’ leadership style was “my way or the highway.” He said it didn’t work very well, as he ran off some very good employees. He began to be more open to suggestions from employees as to how to improve processes. He grew, not as a manager, but as a leader in his dealerships as well as a leader in the business community.
In years past, one of my positions was to develop and teach leadership to newly appointed supervisors at all levels of state government. One of my mantras was, “You manage assets, and you lead people.” This meant you are an example to your employees in every way. I told students you have to become the chief servant to your employees, and not just the chief.
I conducted a great deal of research in the development of that leadership course. In its finality, I discovered leadership had not changed over time, it had run full circle. You see, the best example of a servant leader can be found in the four Gospels in the Bible!
Jesus said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” The great leaders I have had the privilege of serving had a version of this scripture somewhere on the wall of their office. Granted there were a few who clung to the old way of managing. But from general officers in the military, to elected officials in state government, and into the private sector, the greatest leaders are the ones who served their people well.
Jesus served His apostles well. They didn’t see the meaning behind Jesus’ leadership style fully, but were in awe when Jesus lowered Himself to the position of Gentile slave and washed each of their feet before His last supper with them here on earth.
Are you a leader? Need a leadership course to become a better servant to those you lead? I would refer you to the best example of a servant leader this world has ever seen. You can find Him within the pages of the Holy Bible. His name is King Jesus!