Encourage and exalt leaders don’t pull them down. But you may say, “Won’t arrogance destroy them.”
Leaders hungry for power are dangerous.
Arrogant leaders stop listening, grow autocratic, and become self-protective narcissists. Like boxers in the ring, protect yourself at all times. Never trust them. They’ll slice you down and sacrifice stakeholder value for personal gain. They use and abuse.
Dedication to serving answers arrogance. Servant-leaders give, first and foremost.
All the great leaders were servants. Leadership is service. Leadership opportunities are service opportunities.
The higher we lift servant-leaders the more we expand and extend their service. The greater they become the more they serve.
The more we build servant-leaders up the more they build others.
Safe hunger to lead:
Reluctant leaders frequently misunderstand leadership. Unsavory, unethical, power hungry leaders disgust them. They want nothing to do with it. But, the principles and attitudes of servant-leadership ignite desires for leadership in true potential leaders.
The noble desire to lead stands above desires for power, authority, gain, and glory. The more you lead the more you serve. The more you serve the more you enjoy it. In this way, desires for leadership motivate and sustain you through tough times.
Serving includes sacrifice of the best kind. Honor your best self by joyfully, unashamedly giving yourself to others. You serve others best when you understand, appreciate, nurture, and give your gift.
Encourage and exalt servant-leaders. Give them glory – they’ll give it back. In some organizations, pulling leaders down is a spectator sport. Pull servant-leaders down at your own peril. Pull them down you pull your own house down. Lift them you lift yourself.
What encourages you?
How can we exalt leaders in ways that extend their service?
A rant against arrogant leaders: “Avoiding the Putrid Beast Destroying Leaders”
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Great insights here, Dan.
What encourages me, and I assume any servant leader, is when someone points me to a person whose life got better because of something I did.
There’s something my track coach said to me often: “Leave it all out there on the track.” In other words, don’t come back with some reserve energy I could have spent trying to do better. That’s been great life advice for me for anything that’s important, and it’s excellent advice for the servant leader.
Thank you Greg. You teach us how to encourage others by explaining the positive impact on others.
I’ve been on a journey to emulate Christ-like servant leadership for a couple of years. My boss recently challenged me to take my leadership to the next level by becoming more like the captain and less like the helmsman. This will require me to spend more time with people, really listening & attending to their needs & desires & fears. I’m looking forward to the challenge, and praying daily that God reshapes my resistant heart piece by piece.
Here’s wishing you better luck with your resistant heart than I have with mine. 🙂 I like the captain vs. hemlsman analogy – there’s a lot there worth thinking about.
You have my best.
It takes so little to encourage me. Any recognition at all, public or private, about my contribution to helping the team or an individual is enough to push me forward past almost any obstacle. Seeing future leaders move forward and recognize their own leadership skills encourages me to help them and others. Seeing the organization implement a policy, program or development training to help generate future leaders encourages me to participate or suggest future improvements. I think the real key is an environment where that recognition is part of the culture and where it seems natural and not forced. If the organization doesn’t do it than individual leaders need to find a way to provide that encouragement.
What a great reminder of how easy it is to encourage people. We must admit that encouraged people perform better and enjoy life more than discouraged people.
As you have stated, Dan, the key to what kinds of leaders should be “exalted” and those that do best with it, are those who have and maintain their servant’s heart. We should indeed lift up those who demonstrate the best in all of us. By spending time with them, learning from them, and helping them with their projects, we can only improve, ourselves.
If you seriously doubt your leader’s heart, service or feelings toward you, perhaps you need to figure out why you are still following them.
And, if they are drifting away from their servant model, perhaps some friendly words of encouragement will help avert some of the bad things that can happen to people when people are exalted.
Good post, Dan… as usual
Good, solid stuff, Martina, as usual. I really respect the experience you bring with your comments – thanks.
Thank you very much Greg. I really appreciate interacting with you, Dan, and the other people who comment. You challenge me to think broader.
Have a great day.
I love the gentleness in your approach even when a leader strays. I tend to be more blunt. While thinking about your attitude I realized how much I need to remember your approach.
I’m thinking about … if they drift away … some friendly words of encouragement. My first inclination is kick in the pants. I like yours better. Especially when I’m on the receiving end.
Well, Dan, sometimes it comes to a kick in the pants. Each reminder gets a little “firmer” 🙂
Hi Dan, it’s great to make the distinction between those leaders we ought to support and those not. It’s a riddle for those who are servant leaders, or potential servant leaders, to unravel and realise they are. To me this is the key reason to ‘shout it out loud’ for them. If you want an effective leader without ‘ego’, then you must ensure through their early development you provide sufficient ego for them. Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum!
On one hand there is a healthy desire to lead (serve). Yet, frequently the type of leaders we need in organizations need encouragement. They aren’t the flashy stars.
Good post Dan.
Martina said, ‘If you seriously doubt your leader’s heart, service or feelings toward you, perhaps you need to figure out why you are still following them.’
This is an excellent point. Also a very tricky one to do in some cases of leadership. i.e. political. I recently asked someone a question along these lines. What do we do if the goals of leadership differ from the goals of ‘we the people? If we work for the arrogant leader in a company, we can always quit our job if we find another place of employment. (hopefully) Yet, when it comes to politics, it’s not so easy to do. Although I say that as someone who is not in politics, so I am coming at it from the angle of ‘we the people’ instead of being in the political system itself.
Your comment reflects a thoughtful approach to leadership.
I think it’s possible to differ even with the best leaders. Not every leader is suited for every organization.
When differences arise, values come into play. If we agree on values then we can move forward. If not, it’s time to part ways.
Thanks Dan. I wholeheartedly agree. Values are the pivotal point in terms of our abilities to walk together in harmony. Be it family, organization, or country. etc.
I’ve been wondering quite a bit lately. About that ‘split’ in the difference between how we address leadership issues when it comes to family or organizations vs what is more of a leadership entity. As reflected in my comment above in terms of government/politics. I don’t have the answers to my own questions yet on this. Simply sharing.
In light of this and other threads of discussion/thought over the past week or so, this came to mind and I believe, has everything to do with your comment on value differences:
‘Sometimes the ‘idea’ that we believe we are serving is far different then the reality of what we serve. It is our duty 2 learn difference’
I made this statement in reflection from when I was a young soldier in the military back in the late 80’s, early 90’s. In many cases, we can wholeheartedly and sincerely BELIEVE in a particular ’cause’. The IDEA of something, be it our patriotism or belief in God, can be what we sincerely believe we are serving. But in REALITY, we may be serving something entirely different.
Our sincerity in the belief/idea has limits if the ‘entity’ is in word only, while actions contradict it. If that makes sense. This is what I’m referring to. The HIDDEN value differences that we may not be aware of because we are blinded by the ‘idea’ rather then the reality. I hope that makes sense! 🙂
I value your perspective and other leaders that are sincerely wanting to make a positive impact on our world. I hope my perspectives can in some way help equip leaders already in direct service for the greater good.
Apart from a discussion of values …
You are suggesting the devastating thought that we might think we are doing something when we aren’t. Not only is this a possibility but I think it’s likely.
If you would like to read a good book that addresses self-deception take a look at: “Leadership and Self-Deception.” It’s a worthwhile and enjoyable read.
The other issue that may need to be addressed is definition.
When we say I’m serving the people, for example. What exactly does serving mean both to us and them.
Thanks for your insights, explorations and questions.
As it was written in a great song by Mahalia Jackson …”IF I can help somebody while a travel along the way then my living shall not be in vain…
Take this to heart as you serve and lead.
Great quote Tim. Thank you.
Servant leaders are passionate about giving. They enjoy giving and serving needy and underprivileged. They do not expect out of their service. And this sacrifice is their source of power. Creating awareness, helping, feeding to poor and guiding encourage me. When I see positive improvement in others out of my effort, it encourages me. We can exalt leaders by supporting their mission and effort. By showing respect and honor to leaders we can exalt them. By engaging and offering our service to them can exalt leaders. Servant leaders create more impact on people and society. They are good human being in true sense. They know the meaning of life and they live life. They carry single identity everywhere. Leaders with multifaceted live others life. In fact, mask layered leaders just pass life but do not live it fully.
Love your insights on encouraging servant leaders. I see a list on how to encourage:
1. Positive improvement
2. Supporting the mission
3. Showing respect
4. Offering service.
I feel better putting your useful points in a list. 🙂
What encourages me is feeling part of a team. although on the surface that may sound like something a leader “does” to his/her followers, there is a lot the followers can do to let their leader know they are on board and “signed on” to the mission at hand.
We exalt leaders in ways that can extend their service by recognizing their inherent humanity – knowing they are not magic – they have the same 24/7 we do – and also by respecting pressure that leadership puts on them. Cutting them a break while shoring them up.
Here’s some thoughts about our obligation to servant leaders.
– understand and trust their style – they came by their leadership style from years of service and placing trust in others, now it’s their turn to be trusted
– understand their message – the better we understand and appreciate a servant leader’s action or decision, the better proponents of their message and leadership we can become, whether we fully agree or not is not is not relevant
– spread their message, even if you are not in full agreement, they have to make the tough decisions and shoulder the consequences, and they are there because a group of people trusted them to be the right person for the job, suspend your judgement as you are dealing with only a slice of the data they have when they make a tough decision
– build upon their message – help others to understand the why of a leader’s action or a decision, facilitate understanding when others are struggling, be a disciple
– question and offer feedback constructively with an intent to help a leader become better, serve them in their service
– mimic their healthy behaviours to extend their reach and influence.
Thanks for the post Dan!
Servant leadership is a thing of past…. now the gen-next leaders are fast, moving like robots. As Ajay Gupta said, its all about giving……empathy towards each other are rarely on screen and if at all exist, then exist with a dose of corruption.
I think I would have to respectfully disagree that servant leadership is a thing of the past. I do see what you describe – empathy seems less and less present; corruption threatens many of our greatest institutions. But if we don’t give the upcoming / evolving leaders a model of servant leadership to emulate, we all stand to have less productive organizations where people are less emotionally invested. Here’s hoping we can all work together to keep servant leadership from being relegated to this past. 🙂