Weekly Thought – January 31, 2017
Fred rarely fell into fuzzy thinking. His friend and mentor Maxey Jarman burned into him the necessity of clarity. He also objectively looked at processes and “pulled the loose threads.” He spoke plainly, but with beautifully crafted nuances. In these Weekly Thoughts, the material is garnered from Fred’s writings and notes over decades. Some of the illustrations are dated, but undoubtedly the principles are timeless.
Who Do You Serve?
The proper and right concept of leadership is vital. The correct use of theory is essential. Some people differentiate between the theoretical and the practical, as if theory is impractical. One of my earliest management lessons came in this simple maxim: “Nothing is as practical as a correct theory.”
Behind every practicality is a theory. Foundational to our moon shots was Einstein’s theories of relativity. Behind Edison was Faraday’s Theory of Electricity. Just so in leadership. The concept comes first and without a solid understanding nothing but faulty leadership develops.
Currently, one of the popular concepts is “servant leadership.” Properly understood, it is helpful, but it can (and has been) terribly abused.
In ministry, the Christian leader is a servant of God, not a servant of the sheep. Many spiritual shepherds get that confused – and operate incorrectly, inadequately, and often ineptly. The belief that each sheep is the source of the servanthood is to misunderstand the concept.
I have a good friend who nearly lost his sanity trying to be a servant leader to his congregation with the mindset that each was his boss. When one of his “bosses” called him in the middle of the night with instructions, he felt obligated to respond. The situation became absolutely intolerable.
Yes, you lead by serving, but the major expression of your service is your leadership.
Take for example, Lee Iacocca, a great leader. He is a servant of the Chrysler Corporation but he doesn’t ask every employee from assembly line to executive suite where and how the company should go. He may certainly solicit counsel, but he expects his employees to do their job well – just as they expect him to do his with excellence. Iacocca’s servanthood is expressed through his leadership. If he were to give up doing this he would no longer be a faithful servant of Chrysler.
This week think about: 1) What is my own definition of servant leadership? 2) How successful am I leading others? 3) What changes do I need to make in my leadership style to be more effective?
Words of Wisdom: “Yes, you lead by serving, but the major expression of your service is your leadership.”
Wisdom from the Word: “For the one who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by people.” (Romans 14:18 NET Bible)