Last night I sat in a class on servant leadership. Overall and quite surprisingly the class was rather challenging and enjoyable, as this concept of servant leadership was introduced. During the class several comments where made about leaders cleaning toilets and climbing ladders, and of course there were references to the show Undercover Boss. This didn’t set well with me, and I have been wrestling with it since. I started thinking about the CEO of my company, and how I don’t want that guy on a ladder,and I don’t want him cleaning toilets. And for sure, I don’t want him coming down and doing my job. He has a job to do a the leader of a large corporation. I have a job to do building software. The janitors have a job to do keeping the place operational. In a small company those examples may work great but in a large company it is quite perplexing.
But yet there is still something to this idea of leading by being a servant. I don’t think it is always manifests itself in “I will do your job for you” type of service. I think about the people that I attempt to lead, and I will tell you most of the time, they don’t want me messing with their source code or taking care of their job for them, however, they do want something in the form of service. Some days I think I know what that is, but most of the time I stare at this idea with a little bit of consternation.
Yes, there is something to this idea of servant leadership. It seems that it is a natural outpouring of a follower of the Christos. Really look at what he says:
26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28, New International Version, ©2011)
I think I will need to study this a little more and see if I can find some tangible examples of how this really plays out in a large company. Do you have any ideas to share?