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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Servant leaders are others oriented

by Nelson Roth
Whether it’s ‘me first’ or ‘we first’ seems to be a recurring issue in all stages of life.  

This me/we issue also seems to creep in to how leadership is carried out and it also brings some of the challenges servant leaders face with those they lead.  

How do you nurture collaboration and working together as a leader?  Jesus taught us that genuine servant leadership really goes against the grain.  

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as 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 slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45  

Kingdom leadership is upside down, it’s about serving and being others oriented.  Serving is one of the ten responses of The Nehemiah Response Model.

In Romans 12:3 Paul says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”  And then he proceeds with a section on Spiritual gifts, team building, and getting along with others for the remainder of the chapter.

So what do servant leaders do to nurture collaboration and working together?

Nehemiah was an example servant leader who was faced with me/we issues with the people he was leading in the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem.  Nehemiah chapter five tells the story of internal struggles and interpersonal issues that the workers began to have.  How did he respond?

  • Nehemiah focused on WHAT’S right, not WHO’S right
We often start quarreling over who’s right; instead, shift your thinking to what’s right.  Seeking truth about an issue is essential.  If two people in conflict can seek truth, and if each can take responsibility for their own faults the issue is more readily cleared up.  For this to happen, they may need help from someone else.  This is what Nehemiah does in chapter five, verse seven.
  • Nehemiah’s goal was reconciliation
Reconciliation is the parties involved coming together, dealing with truth, each taking responsibility, making confession, and seeking forgiveness.  As a result, each become changed.  Nehemiah 5:10-12, tells us that the people doing wrong stopped their wrong actions and took the next step to make their wrongs right.  
  • The outcome was resiliency and recovery
Bouncing back is possible with the two previous responses.  In Nehemiah 5:12-13, we read that they were serious about their decision to change and get back to doing what was right.

It’s hard work to shift from me to we.  Ministry and best intentions to serve can cause conflicts even in the best of relationships.  Often, the conflicts we have reveal shortcomings in our lives that when addressed and changed make us a better person and servant leader.

What challenges do you face as a servant leader and being others oriented?
How do you nurture collaboration and working together?

Feel free to leave a comment.

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The Nehemiah Response Model

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