Weekly Thought – February 19, 2019
Fred believed in evaluating current thinking in terms of Biblical principles. He always measured popular ideas, whether in the general culture or the church, specifically. He consistently measured ideas before espousing them.
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When I went into business (over 60 years ago), I began reading the Harvard Review published by the Harvard Business School. I remember an article written by Mr. Robert T. Greenleaf of A.T.&T titled “Skyhooks.” It became one of their most highly read articles. He was one of the first mainstream authors to tackle a spiritual theme in business. In 1970 he introduced an idea he called “servant leadership.” Max DePree, Steven Covey, and Ken Blanchard all quickly adopted the concept and have greatly popularized not only the phrase, but the application.
I certainly believe it is a Biblical principle if we clearly understand the difference between the spirit and the function. Some leaders take it to mean they are expected and even “called” to do even the most menial jobs in their organizations. I know one executive who has taken it to mean he should stay and literally turn out the lights in his building at night. One believed he should operate as a literal servant of the employees to be true to servant leadership.
To me, this is a misunderstanding. I am convinced servant leadership is about the attitude of serving. The old paradigm of building a pyramid with the lowest paid employees on the bottom and the CEO at the pinnacle doesn’t exemplify my understanding. I like to think of turning the pyramid upside down. The CEO still bears more responsibility and receives higher compensation, but has the attitude of carrying the organization, not riding it.
The CEO in this new configuration sacrifices ego to the organization rather than deriving satisfaction from the organization. Christ washed the disciples’ feet once to illustrate his humility but I do not think he would have taken this up as His daily duty.
This week think about: 1) How am I thinking about servant leadership? 2) Who exemplifies the appropriate attitude of servanthood? 3) What excites me about learning to lead better?
Words of Wisdom: “The CEO in this new configuration sacrifices ego to the organization rather than deriving satisfaction from the organization.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I take great delight. I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.” (Matthew 12:18 NET Bible)