Tag: servant leader

Leadership Is Growing Healthy Leaders

Laurie Kennedy“One of the most potent influences in the lives of most of us is that of example.” (Campbell, Leaders of Man, 1902,) In a more recent article, “real leaders are those who encourage others to act heroically, Leaders make more leaders”. (Memo to: CEO’s, Simon)

Many people feel the leader has all the power, authority and influence. Yet, this power and authority is governed and held by the people, the followers. The Servant Leader leads, knowing he is accountable to followers. It isn’t the title, the position, the power or the education that makes a leader successful. “The mantle of leadership is bestowed on you by those who grasp your mission and choose to follow you…the follower holds the final power to determine the leader.” (Wilkes Jesus on Leadership) Growing other leaders comes naturally to the Servant leader.

“One of the most important aspects of being a Pastor is fulfilling the role of servant-shepherd”. (London and White Leadership Journal)  They also suggest, our communities will respond when they see the values of church leaders as “approachable, responsive, gentle, and genuinely filled with compassion. These characteristics are more significant for the leader of the flock than academic degrees, church growth numbers, or status achieved”. Imagine a church where the leaders were gifted with and lived these characteristics.

A key role for Healthy Ministry Leaders is to “equip his people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:12 NIV). Watchman Nee identifies “listening as an indispensable quality of the Christian Leader”. (What does God expect of a man, Lundy) He further suggests, “as a church leader, Men in leadership in the church must lead the people under their care, much as a shepherd leads, feeds, protects and nurtures a flock of sheep.”

Your Leadership influence is never neutral. It either moves people positively or negatively. Are your followers growing spiritually? Are they producing fruit? Are they living a Christ filled life? Are they challenged to grow, learn and demonstrate God’s love on a daily basis?

Leadership is … growing Healthy Servant Leaders

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Following

 
The best leaders are great followers. They consistently follow the Vision, Mission and Values of the organization they work with. If they have the privilege of working for a Board, they follow the Boards direction. As a Servant Leader, they will also follow the needs of their followers, Team Members and Associates.
I’m always shocked (and amused) to watch strong ego based leaders try to work in a team environment. Each feels they are destined to be the “in charge” leader without asking who has had any experience or expertise in the particular situation.
“Watch the interplay of people during a meeting. In a healthy environment, different people take the lead based on the situation and the skills needed in the moment. Only egotistical leaders believe they must lead in any and every situation.” (John Maxwell, Good Leaders ask Great Questions)
An effective team has various leaders. Any particular project may have different leaders depending on the expertise required. The positive leaders know how to follow and never assume the lead role unless asked.
The best Leaders:

  • Think of other people’s needs first
  • Are results oriented and want the most skilled to lead in their area of expertise
  • Grow other leaders by sharing responsibility
  • Are accountable to the team, their people and the project
  • Keep the needs of the team ahead of their own personal agenda
  • Accept responsibility for the challenges and set-backs
  • Encourage others to develop their individual spiritual gifts
  • Are committed to their staff team
  • Honestly and consistently ask for advice and feedback
  • Empower the individual and collective efforts of the team

Leadership is … sharing, learning and following
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Self-managed teams

Laurie KennedySelf-managed teams are awesome but rare. We typically look to a leader for the vision, values and direction. Leaders are great, however when individuals work together, teams will form, develop and change as the need arises.

During my Leadership work at Trinity Western University we shared, learned and breathed Servant Leadership. We were taught to consistently serve the vision, mission and values. We were taught to lead as the need arises, but to be cognizant that a Servant Leader only takes the lead when necessary. Your goal as a Servant Leader is to serve.

As a closing exercise, we divided into teams, each with a canoe on a bay on the West Coast of Canada.  Most of us had never paddled a team canoe before. We struggled, made mistakes and learned to paddle in a reasonable direction without a formal leader.  The two hour experience was awesome. Charan, Carey and Useem illustrate that “The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performs Beethoven symphonies without a conductor. Special Forces conduct combat missions without a commissioned officer” (Boards that Lead).

Today, I experienced a Self-Managed Team. We were on a beautiful acreage South of Edmonton. The guests, flowers and food arrived on schedule. Without instruction, all vehicles parked by the highway. As we watched, teams developed, finished a task and disbanded without conference or direction. Volunteers finished the tent, moved chairs, put the many bouquets of flowers in place, tested microphones and music. The ‘Jigsaw pieces’ of the event fit together seamlessly. At the appointed time, we all took our seats, the Pastor and Groom stood on the hill overlooking the valley, the bride arrived and the day was on.

As we drove home, it became obvious there wasn’t a formal leadership hierarchy. All guests were committed to the Vision, Mission and Values of the day. We all knew the resource people, but there was no need for meetings, stress and last minute debate or discipline sessions. When something was missing, everyone searched for solutions and creativity emerged.

Leadership is changing, building teams and re-forming as the need arises.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Teamwork

Laurie Kennedy“Many churches fail to grow because leadership is hoarded by the chosen few” (Servant Leadership for Slow Learners). Life-long learning is the Servant Leadership actively working to improve the ability to love, care and work as a team, demonstrating God’s love. The Christian Servant Leader serves the team as a shepherd leads the flock.

As a Pastor, Chaplain, Board member or leader, do you actively work with your team of associates? Is your love and care for them the same care and concern as a shepherd cares for his sheep? Ezekiel writes, “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them” (Ezekiel 34:11 NIV), Paul illustrates with a priority to “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13 NIV), or to “consider others better than yourselves,” we are to look out for the “interests of others”, while having an attitude the “same as that of Christ Jesus”, who took “the very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:3,4,5 & 7 NIV). In much of our work today, we have lost the concept Christ demonstrated to us when he said he “did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28 NIV).

Our challenge is not that the Bible or Christ has lost power, influence or authority. Our challenge is we, Christian Leaders are adopting negative leadership styles and acting more like our secular counterparts than the Servant Leaders Christ intended us to be. James MacDonald illustrates in his Leadership Journal article, I’m in Charge Here, “Christian executives generally work more authoritatively than their pagan counterparts (and) tend not to seek input from their subordinates as readily as do unbelieving administrators

As a CEO, Chaplain, Pastor or church leader, the secular lifestyle, top down management and the newest fad from the guru of the month club is not relevant for the Christian Servant Leader. Let’s learn to recognize the value and effectiveness of Servant Leadership while we demonstrate God’s love.

Leadership is… serving your people, so that they will see God through you.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group
ldkjethrogroup@gmail.com

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Leadership Is Encouraging

cropped-laurie-kennedy1.jpgThe Christian Servant leader encourages others toward personal growth and development. Their goal is not for personal benefit, personal reward or personal gain. This nurturing role, is foundational to providing a Christ-like service.

The Christian Servant Leader follows Christ’s example, “set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15 NIV). The author of Hebrews confirms we are to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24 NIV). Paul again suggests the leader has a responsibility to “encourage one another and build each other up…respect those who work hard among you” (1 Thessalonians 5:11-12 NIV).

In his book, How to Lead and Still have a Life, Dale Burke suggests, “According to Jesus Christ, great leaders are servant-leaders. They love their people enough to get down and dirty with them. They didn’t lead from the tower; they get down in the trenches. They serve and empower their people. They use their influence and resources to knock down barriers, remove obstacles, and enable those serving under them. That’s servant-leadership.”

Albert Einstein is quoted by James C. Hunter in the Worlds Most Powerful Leadership Principle, suggesting “You cannot achieve a new goal by applying the same level of thinking that got you where you are today.”

If Burke and Einstein have anything in common, it’s the realization that Servant Leadership is not traditional leadership. The effective leaders of today are building on the success of the past, learning from the mistakes of the past and realizing they cannot do it alone. Nurturing and encouraging others is critical to their weekly agenda.

Leadership is encouraging others to use their spiritual gifts and skills to accomplish their God given vision.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Knowing Your Leadership Style

Laurie KennedyYour leadership style is what others see and feel. You may have your foundation principles set, your Vision, Mission and Values defined, but it is your style that your followers see. Your predominant leadership style is likely a combination of the following. Choose your style wisely, as a twig grows into a tree, so your style influences your people for years to come.

As an Autocratic leader, you are in complete control. You set the rules, hire and fire according to your whim and rely on position authority. Your people probably don’t like working for you, but stay for other reasons.

As a Manager, you concentrate on the task, monitor it and your people closely to be sure the job is done. Managers concentrate on doing things right, according to the book. With your managing hat on, you color within the lines. You pride yourself on the new policies, guidelines and the negative consequences you have set to ensure goals are met.

As a Democratic leader, you listen to your people and often take votes. Your people are in control.  Vision accomplishment is less important than smoothing the waters. Your goal is to keep your people happy.

As a Laisse-faire leader you just don’t care. Your staff, associates and volunteers know that you are just along for the ride. Goals are not accomplished and you go where the wind blows.

As a Servant leader, you describe the ideal future and encourage your people toward it. You don’t color within the lines, you make new lines to accomplish the Vision. You influence your people to achieve a purpose they believe in. Like a caring parent, you love your staff and volunteers where they are today and encourage them to grow in Christ. You focus on the follower’s needs and the goal instead of your personal needs. Leaders create change and influence others.

The best barometer I know for measuring leadership is the growth or accomplishment of the followers.

Leadership is finding your balance to accomplish what God has in mind for your people, your organization and yourself.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Vulnerability

cropped-laurie-kennedy1.jpgThe Servant Leader is to give of himself, putting others first. There is no me first, no self serving, no criticism and put downs in his character. The servant leader serves, he doesn’t strive for control.

Paul encourages us to, “Excel in this grace of giving” (11 Corinthians 8:7). Luke confirms, “do not take the place of honor…but take the lowest place” (Luke 14:10). Or, as illustrated by John, our leadership should demonstrate Christ’s love, remembering his example that the good shepherd “lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). And finally, Paul again encourages us that Christ “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, … he humbled himself” (Philippians 2:7-8).

In their book, Resilient Ministry, Burns, Chapman and Guthrie illustrate, “Vulnerability grows relationship capital: Pastors who are appropriately vulnerable with their congregations build relationship capital”. Further, “Developing relationship capital is critical in the dynamics of ministry politics.”

Watch your daily newspaper and National news broadcasts. Count the headliners and note which ones are controlling, me first, my way or the highway, type A personalities.  You rarely see a Servant Leader on the news.  They are there, but they don’t grab the headlines, they don’t seek to be noticed and they give credit to their staff and associates.

Now imagine the difference and the influence for God’s glory when dedicated servant leaders define a God focused agenda of service, putting their staff, associates and customers first.

The difference is not only a leadership philosophy but the organizational results are superior.  Remember Moses? “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else, (Numbers 12:3)

Leadership is letting go of ‘my’ agenda and living God’s agenda.

Yours in Service,

Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership is Listening and Hearing, to Understand

Laurie KennedyServant Leaders are known by their actions. Their reputation precedes and follows them.

Consider Timothy, he “takes a genuine interest in your welfare” (Philippians 2:20), for the Lord gives the Christian Servant Leader “an instructed tongue, to know the word… wakens my ear to listen like one being taught” (Isaiah 50:4). Further, “let the wise listen and add to their learning” (Proverbs 1:5), “listen to advice and accept instruction, (Proverbs 19:20) because “a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15). Further, “listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding” (Proverbs 4:1) and “hold on to instruction” (Proverbs 4:13), because, “many advisers make victory sure” (Proverbs 11:14). The Servant Leader will want to be aware of Christ’s example who, at a young age, was found three days after his parents left, “sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions” (Luke 2:46).

“Christ’s model is clearly servant empowered leadership. Servant leadership cares more about people than the organization,” Don Page in Servant Empowered Leadership.

An Annual Review of a Servant Leader will show positive results achieved by a team. The Christian Servant Leader listens to the Lord, as well as, the people within and without his organization, conducting surveys, focus groups, visitation, interaction with the people, bringing in scholars to teach and instruct. Followers are dedicated, caring workers who put others ahead of themselves. Working for a Servant Leaders is a privilege. The Servant Leader knows your name, remembers birthdays and knows your family, your hobbies and special interests. Time and work productivity is important, but saying ‘thank you’, and finding time to demonstrate God’s love is also available.

Henri Nouwen wrote, “The beginning and the end of all Christian leadership is to give your life for others,” The Wounded Healer. Christ wrote, “the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

Leadership is, listening to, hearing from and caring for others before self.

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach
Jethro Group

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Leadership Is Building a Community

Laurie KennedyThe Servant Leader knows effective work cannot be accomplished alone. The results are always impacted by the integration of all the roles and relationships working together toward a common goal. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up…A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12), “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple” (Ephesians 2:21). Further, it is the inter-working of each individuals skills, gifts, and relationships that provide the benefits. “From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does it work” (Ephesians 4:16).

The Servant Leader is never a lone wolf but follows Christ’s leadership example, including the initial development of a team, where Christ spent the night “praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him, and chose twelve of them, whom he designated apostles” (Luke 6:12-13). Later, he formed teams, “Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority” (Mark 6:7).

Think about your typical philosophy of work. Do you actively interact and share with other resources, a head office, or your personal and professional community?  A Pastor friend of mine defines his time in his role as 80% to his local congregation, 10% to his community 5% to Region/Denominational activities and 5% to his personal development activities. He now has a community of resources and people to work with and learn from as benefits of his approach.

Leadership is thinking strategically, seeing the big picture and building on the advice and resources of your networks and resources.

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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Leadership Is Soft Skills

Laurie KennedyThe Center for Creative Leadership tells us, “the softer leadership skills of trust, empathy and genuine compassion for employees were needed to help organizations through transition.”  Another comment by the same organization, indicated “there is a strong correlation between the long-term success of an organization and the degree to which its leaders practice soft skills.”

Henri Nouwen says, In the Name of Jesus, “The Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her vulnerable self.”

Christ tells us (Matthew 20:25) “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

John MacArthur tells us in, The Book on Leadership, “According to Christ, then, the truest kind of leadership demands service, sacrifice, and selflessness.” Further, he states, “Leaders who look to Christ as their Leader and their supreme model of leadership will have servants’ hearts. They will exemplify sacrifice. A leader is not someone who is consumed with his own success and his own best interests. A true leader is someone who demonstrates to everyone around him that their interests are what most occupy his heart. A real leader will work hard to make everyone around him successful. His passion is to help make the people under his leadership flourish. That is why a true leader must have the heart of a servant.”

This week, as you go to your marketplace, remember Paul’s encouragement in (Galatians 5:22), “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

Leadership is the soft skills of caring, sharing and coming along-side others.

Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy
Leadership Coach

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