Is Servanthood Leadership an Oxymoron?

Servanthood leadership was a term that was completely foreign to me until I began my program last semester. As I explored what the term meant I began understanding how and why this would work. It seemed logical. The concept was uncommon to me because I never imagined a leader as a servant. Actually in my experience when an individual reached a leadership status they were served. In almost every arena in my experience leadership was a status symbol whether president, CEO, professional, church leadership this was a position of respect and they were served. The leader has consistently been perceived as the ‘guru’ and their followership serves them.
Servanthood leadership, however, is the polar-opposite. In this role the leader highly esteems his followers (subordinates, employee’s etc.). Dr Bruce Winston presented a new concept for me when he speaks of a leaders ‘agapao’ love for their followers. Agapao is a Greek word which defines moral love, doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. He states this kind of leadership defines a truly successful leader.
This concept began to unfold a new way of thinking. Most people who seek leadership roles do so with the intent of having subordinates (individuals to rule over). The autocratic approach to leadership is what most employees are familiar with; “you will do as I say because I am the boss and I know”. Little to no input is solicited from employees.
An outstanding leader serves his subordinates through making them an equal. This leader is a visionary, enthusiastic, inspires, has impeccable communication skills, delegates and supports ideas, encourages, empowers, trains and mentors. Organizations which invest into their employees by training, giving them progress reports and promotions based on merit have better profitability. When organizations understand the value of a well trained happy employee they have leverage over their competitors.
A servant leader fosters employees that are committed to their job, their work and their leader. They capture and run with the vision and will never hesitate to go the extra mile to support the organization. Dr Winston states that “employees who know that the leader has their interests at heart are willing to commit themselves to corporate tasks”. This confirms the belief that employees who believe they are supported are happy employees, therefore, productive and in the end everyone wins.

To Your Success,
Nilda Perez

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