According to John C. Maxwell, a leader is a servant leader if their "focus is on serving others rather than serving themselves or being served by others." This definition of servant leadership mirrors a Gospel-centered approach to service. Christ washed the Apostles' feet at the Last Supper (John 13:5) and told His disciples, "But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:26-28). These passages outline a Biblical approach to leadership.
Mark Cole, CEO of John Maxwell Companies, offers three habits that will help you become a servant leader:
- Perform small acts of kindness. Start with those closest to you. Find ways today to do small things that show other people you care. Even the smallest acts of kindness carry tremendous weight in the lives of others.
- Learn to walk slowly through the crowd. As you are surrounded by those you lead, take time to talk to each one individually. Spending time with people creates not only the desire to serve them, but the connection and know-how to serve them well.
- Move into action. If an attitude of servanthood is conspicuously absent from your life, the best way to change it is to start serving. Feelings will follow footsteps - if you begin serving with your body, your heart will eventually catch up! Then keep at it until your heart desires to serve others well.
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