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Servant Leadership Redux

From obedience to reflex.

Last issue, Gordon MacDonald wrote a devotional on the subject of servant leadership. Several of you mentioned your appreciation for his words. One key sentence of the devotional: "Servanthood is not about how I add value to my life but about how I add value to yours."

The subject of servant leadership, however, always raises for me more questions than it answers. Who can't tip her hat to the idea of servant leadership: Jesus did it; I need to do it. Period. But how do I do it?

The rub lies in the fact that if you're a leader, you are already in a position of power. If you're a pastor, you hold the office of pastor. If you're a board chairperson, you hold the office of board chairperson. Behavioral scientists call this "legitimate" power, which stems from formal position. Other types of power include:

—Punishment: the power that comes from your capacity to coerce or punish someone —Reward: the power that comes from the potential reward you can hand out —Referent: ...
January/February
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