Posted by: Jor's Journey | October 5, 2016

The Beauty of Servant Leadership

Here is a post to hopefully encourage you. I know there is so much negativity in the world all around us so I just wanted to blog about something good. Something to make you think about your own leadership abilities, something to remind you how truly blessed we are, and something to encourage you as we venture into the world as leaders. I think one of the most amazing things about CNU is our desire to strive for excellence, but more than that living a life of significance. Tonight was the President’s Leadership Program’s Speaker Series Event. The speaker was a fascinating  20 year old woman named Suzanne Scheuble. She is the founder of an orphanage in Ethiopia for neglected and special needs children. It was amazing to hear her story of overcoming constant doubt and keeping her passion for serving ablaze. After listening to her speak it brought me to these questions: What is the point of leadership? How can we lead more effectively?

Although we haven’t specifically talked about servant leadership in this class, it is commonly taught in other leadership classes. Basically the idea behind servant leadership is putting the followers needs above your own. Suzanne emphasized her passion for serving others and her leadership position grew in the process. At 20 years old she has raised over $30,000 to open a home where orphans can be taken care of and given adequate food and supplies. In a few months she plans to go live in Ethiopia permanently giving her whole life to the mission. From listening to her I would say she leads to inspire others and grow her vision for these children. She also inspires others as she leads and that can be very beneficial as a leader. Although it can be argued leadership is merely an opportunity to make more money, or obtain more authority it can also be something so much more than that. Leadership gives people the influence to change others lives for the better. When going into a project with serving others as the main goal it does not matter whether you a male or female. I think we tend to put too much emphasis on peoples’ “qualifications” to be a leader. We stress appearance, sex, merit, and characteristics and sometimes miss out on amazing opportunities because of it.

I would say that because servant leadership is more about the follower than the leader it is a more affective way to lead. Agentic, communal, or emotional tendencies the leader has doesn’t matter as much because it’s not about them. Of course in certain cases these things cannot be overlooked, but I would say generally servant leadership is deeper and more affective. Servant leadership stems from love and passion, so when leaders lead with such qualities it seems that people care less about what they are wearing and more about how they are acting. Now I am very aware the servant leadership doesn’t cure the world from stereotyping, but I would say it is more fulfilling for all parties involved.

As we  leave finish our time here at CNU, we get to go into the world and choose what type of leader we want to be. We can follow our passions just like Suzanne, and truly impact the world for the better. Servant leadership is an opportunity to serve and be involved with something greater than ourselves. It’s an opportunity to be more than just an emotional girl or an aggressive guy, it’s a chance to make a difference just by being you and loving others the best you can!

 

Sources:
Early, A. H. and Carli, L. L. (2007). Through the Labyrinth. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. ( emphasis on male vs. female characteristics)

 

 

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Responses

  1. I like how you talked about how communal and agentic qualities do not matter as much when looking at it from the scope of servant leadership. It seems like servant leadership–with its focus on humility and serving others–de-genders leadership, because you do not have to be one specific gender to serve others; you simply have to be willing to submit to others.

    It’s interesting, because other times when I think leader, I can’t help but think “masculine,” which of course goes back to the assignment of traits and roles, and that entire mess. But when I think of “servant leader,” I don’t think of “masculine.” I don’t necessarily think of “feminine,” either, though. I kind of think of both equally–like, when I hear the phrase, my mind is split between thinking about Jesus and thinking about Mother Teresa (two people I highly regard as servant leaders). That may be the only kind of leadership so far that doesn’t make my mind assume a gender–and I wonder why that is and what it means? I definitely think it’s a good first step to de-gendering leadership. Perhaps by figuring out why it doesn’t set off those internal signals telling me “this is masculine,” or “this is feminine,” we can apply that to other aspects of leadership.

  2. I feel like servant leadership is often considered by many people in the corporate world incompetent. Though this type of leadership can be very effective in many settings. I do feel like this type of leadership can be more effective when women use them. The servant leader is helps there followers and can be seen as more communal and such. This is what a women leader can be more seen as.
    I feel like women are almost better suited to use servant leadership to gain more access to leadership. This is a way to help some women to gian more confidence as a leader.

  3. Wow! To hear about someone close in age doing so much to help the community is amazing! Servant leadership is sometimes overlooked because it doesn’t completely focus on the leader but rather focuses on the follower’s needs and values. It takes great courage and passion to do something like this and it is definitely a genuine act of kindness. I also don’t view servant leadership as masculine or feminine. It is a balance between the two and is not necessarily outlined for a particular gender.

  4. Servant leadership does prove to be genderless in the way we think about leadership. Because there is an emphasis on selflessness the idea of stereotyping based on gender is not as evident. I liked how you emphasized the servant leadership being about others and not about the self. Therefore by focusing on others the idea of being constrained by gender in regards to leadership will not be as much of an issue. Because there is no need to prove oneself but rather be for others and sacrifice for the good of others. There is a humanitarian aspect to this form of leadership that counts both men and women of great value. Therefore if one is valued then there will undoubtedly create an atmosphere of respect and equality that I believe we all long to achieve as leaders.

  5. Thank you for posting something positive! I enjoyed hearing Suzanne speak as well! I felt very encouraged to see someone very passionate about serving the helpless and forgotten. I see servant leadership as an incredibly beautiful form of leadership. I was very encouraged also that even though Suzanne is very young and a female she has been able to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time (for the benefit of others). Being taken seriously in the pursuit of one’s dreams is difficult, and I think it can be especially difficult as a young woman. Suzanne is an encouragement to other girls and women — her story shows that a young woman CAN pursue a crazy dream and succeed.

  6. One of the best leadership examples I have ever seen is Lt. Michael Murphy, he was a Navy SEAL serving in Afghanistan and eventually the teams missions was compromised. Murphy, without regard for his own life took a satellite phone, walked into the direct line of fire, and called for a rescue for his men, he was shortly killed by Taliban gunfire. Murphy, enabled one of his team members to survive and tell their story of heroism and brotherhood. I think sometimes we get too comfortable with our lives and we sometimes get boggled down with how much homework we have, and how traffic sucks, but we forget the other hardships individuals have. One of my lacrosse coaches had told us this story, not to make us feel bad, but to listen to the different leadership styles. My lacrosse coach, by pointing this out to us made a huge difference in the teams leadership. It wasn’t until years later that I realized my lacrosse coach by telling us that story was a servant leader and he has helped me become the leader I am today


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