Over the last year or so, I have become a fervent follower of servant leadership. In my last trip in India, the reasons became more clear to me on a development and personal level.
For the developmental level, I saw the connection with the leaders in India when discussing the Patterson’s (2003) model of servant leadership. What is different about this model is that the core motivation of leadership is built around agape. Many theologians see agape as the highest of loves in the Bible. It is an unconditional love. For leaders to center their motivation on agape type of love is transformational. To love your followers/employees unconditionally is an act that has to be full of grace and compassion, but don’t we all want to follow a leader who loves us unconditionally? For this reason, I connected with the participants and they started seeing the “cost” of leading through servant leadership. It is difficult, but I throughougly believe it is not only one of the most effective ways to lead people, but also the closest to a biblical basis of leadership.
On a personal level, I started seeing the need for me to develop more as a servant leader that exhibits agape or unconditional love to properly each participant that we develop. The service comes by not only disciplining my thoughts and preparation for the workshops, but also focusing on them as individuals, seeing their talents, and serving them to grow in their abilities as leaders. The temptation for me is to focus only on the success of the project, in which I overlook the participants as individuals. This would miss out on so much opportunity that God has given me if I don’t see the participants with the same agape as He does.
So my hope is that I become a servant leader with agape and we develop servant leaders that exhibit agape in their organizations.
Patterson, K. A. (2003). Servant leadership: A theoretical model. Dissertation Abstracts
International, 64 (02), 570. (UMI No. 3082719)