Monday, January 2, 2012

The Qualities of a Servant Leader

In my last post, Agape Love: An Unconditional Love, I talked about what love is. I said that love is a behavior and not a feeling. And today, I'll be relating agape love to servant leadership.

In his book, The Servant, James C. Hunter compiles a list of qualities every leader should possess. Or should I say, the characters in The Servant work together come up with a list. Take a few minutes and think of some qualities you think a leader should have...

What follows is a list of the qualities Hunter's characters came up with:

  • Honest, trustworthy
  • Good role model
  • Caring
  • Committed
  • Good listener
  • Holds people accountable
  • Treats people with respect
  • Gives people encouragement
  • Positive, enthusiastic attitude
  • Appreciated people

Would you agree with this list? Is anything unnecessarily there, or is anything missing? I personally would say this is exactly what I want a leader to look like. A leader needs all of these qualities to be a good leader. Simply think of a leader who fails to exhibit one or more of these qualities and you'll see my point. A leader who lies all the time isn't a very selfless leader. A leader who's personal lifestyle is immoral isn't a very selfless leader, either. A leader who doesn't care will eventually be fired, so that person isn't very effective either. And so on. 

Now I want to point something else out. In my previous post, we glanced at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, the famous "love is patient, love is kind" passage. This is the "love" passage of the Bible. It says, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." Now remember what agape love is. It's love that is a behavior, not an emotion or feeling. And if we look at love as a behavior- in other words, as how we act- verses how we feel, it changes everything. 

Hunter also compiled a list of qualities from the "love" passage of the Bible. Again, it was his characters that came up with it, but they essentially represent Hunter's beliefs.

  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Respectfulness
  • Selflessness
  • Forgiveness
  • Honesty
  • Commitment
Does it strike you how similar these two lists are? One list pertains to a list of leadership qualities; the other, to the qualities of love. Isn't that remarkable? Is it possible then that leadership and love go hand-in-hand? Is it possible that a leader must love those under his care? Yes and yes. If you want to be a servant leader, if you want to be a mentor leader, if you want to be a leader, you have to love. You have to have agape love for your employees, players, family members, etc. 

In the upcoming days, I plan on looking at each quality individually. Hunter looks at each quality in The Servant and I'll simply pass the information along to you (and of course, add my own two cents). My servant leadership journey has been really exciting so far as I've learned all kinds of new things and I know there's even more out there to discover. I'm having a lot of fun reading these books about servant leadership and passing along what I've learned to you. Because I'm beginning to post more often and because more and more of my friends are starting to read my blog, I've decided to post a new post each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So I'll be posting every other day and I'll have weekend off. I'm doing this so my readers will know when to look for new posts and so I can be consistent with my posting. So be sure to check back Wednesday for my next post!

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