Jump directly to the Content

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
Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
5 Questions for Decision Makers
5 Questions for Decision Makers
Avoid decision anxiety by answering these questions.
From the Magazine
‘Evangelical Imagination’ Has Formed Us. But Can We Define It?
‘Evangelical Imagination’ Has Formed Us. But Can We Define It?
Metaphors, images, and stories orient us. But we must understand them first.
Editor's Pick
The Last Gift My Father Gave Me
The Last Gift My Father Gave Me
A surprising encounter with my dad, Jesus, and Jerry Seinfeld opened a door to long-awaited healing.
close