Like many aspiring leaders, servant or otherwise, I understand that one of the biggest hurdles faced by those looking to be effective leaders is overcoming one’s ego. An ego can create all kinds of havoc in the workplace, and leaders know that it can be a constant battle to keep it in check. At work, displaying servant leadership characteristics certainly helps to lead from the heart, and thus render the ego less effective. But I think there is more to being a productive member of society than being a servant leader. Let me explain:
- Servant Driver – Let’s face it. When on the road in most any major city in America, there are many drivers who may not put others first as they speed through their daily commute. I must continually remind myself of this when I drive. As a matter of fact, I always recite a little ditty to myself right before I climb behind the wheel to help me remember that I am a servant drive
- Servant Customer – Shopping can be a very stressful event, especially now. The servant customer approaches gift buying, or other kinds of shopping, with an attitude colored by restraint and empathy. While my daughter may want a Hatchimal for Christmas, the world will not end (though she may beg to differ) if I don’t push three mothers and a father out of the way to get one of the few remaining on the shelf
- Servant Fan – At any local professional sporting event, since the vast majority of those in attendance are rooting for the home team, you would think that means we are all on the same “team,” and having a servant attitude wouldn’t be necessary. You would be wrong. The need for empathy and understanding can be even stronger wherever people jostle for the closest parking spot to the stadium, or wherever they try to grab a beer and nachos at a food stand.
Here then were three quick examples of what I am talking about. There are many more that could be presented. As I think about the need to be a servant driver or a servant fan, it makes me wonder. Perhaps servant leadership isn’t the right term for helping us heal as a society. Perhaps a better term is servant personship.