I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Isaiah 43:18-19

Compassion, forgiveness, and fresh starts. Leaving things unsaid. Engaging marginalized employees. You know how often I write about these things, and how much I believe in them.

And, yet –

There are times when, to protect the viability of your servant culture and the fulfillment of your organization’s servant purpose, you must take steps to share certain employees with the competition.

To discern if you’ve got work to do in this area, ask yourself — do you have:

  1. Employees who have become misaligned with your organization’s purpose?

The truth is, people change. They grow. They shift. They gain deeper awareness about who they are, what they have to contribute, and where God is calling them to serve. This is a good thing! You want your employees to engage in self-discovery, stretch, and step into following their unique God-given purpose.

That said –

You can’t afford team members who aren’t giving you their best because they’re no longer passionate about your organization’s purpose.

Don’t try to hold onto people longer than you should, even if their skills are exactly what your team needs to fulfill its purpose and vision. In the long run, a less-skilled employee who is deeply passionate about the “why” behind your work will serve your organization far better for far longer.

Skills are trainable. Purpose, passion, enthusiasm, and energy must flow from the heart.

  1. Employees who have become unreceptive to being coached?

A big part of servant leadership is understanding that people go through rough patches. You don’t fire otherwise solid employees who’ve slipped into unproductive behaviors. You coach them, just as Jesus did.

But, what if the employee has become deeply resistant to being coached?

In my experience, this is a red flag you can’t allow yourself to overlook.

Your servant culture depends on employees living servant values. Values such as humility, vulnerability, tenacity, and integrity.

When employees demonstrate resistance to coaching – resistance to self-discovery and self-improvement – they are doing the opposite of living these servant values. And it is time for you to be courageous and take action. It is your responsibility in serving the rest of your team to:

Give the uncoachable employee the opportunity to be shared with the competition, so that God can place them where He needs them to be.

Ask God to help you feel permission to do this. Not just for the greater good of your team and your organization’s servant purpose, but the good of the employee who – for whatever reason — can’t break through and move forward under your leadership.

Be honest with yourself — do you have work to do in this area?

If you have employees who fall into either one of these categories, you must find it in your heart to release them so that they can, with God’s help, find their way outside of your organization. You must do this even if it’s time-consuming, emotionally challenging, or operationally inconvenient to do so.

Lean on Jesus. Ask Him to grant you inner peace around the separation. Ask Him for guidance in how to take the first step forward.

And then, ask Jesus to open your heart to the people who are perfectly suited to your team and the fulfillment of your servant purpose. Ask Him to send those high performing, purpose-driven employees to you.

I promise you — they are out there, waiting for the chance to shine on your team and under your leadership!


Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

Isaiah 43:6-7