“Feed my sheep.”
If you are a leader, you are more than just an executor of strategy. You’re a protector. A steward. A shepherd of curious minds and beating hearts.
Because you are a shepherd, you have your people’s well being at heart. You love them. You want the best for them. You want them to learn, grow, and advance. You want them to spend more time with their families. You want them to live in the sweet spot, where they are both satisfied and stimulated.
These are the things that are in your heart.
Yet, despite your best efforts, you know that some of your employees don’t yet trust you, fully. You know this because you see the signs of it. When people don’t trust, they aren’t themselves. Their discomfort drives them to all sorts of shortsighted, unproductive behavior. The result? Missed opportunities, holding patterns, and heartache.
Lift your workplace out of this dynamic in 2018. Earn trust by practicing the behaviors of servant leadership, which will support you to boldly show on the outside what you feel on the inside — genuine concern, support, and love for the people you lead.
Here is how:
Define a New Top Metric for Your Leadership
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. (1 Corinthians 13:11)
Putting the ways of childhood behind you. What do you think that looks like, in the eyes of God?
Thankfully, we don’t have to speculate:
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
Love. Loving one another. Prioritizing the demonstration of love above all else.
Is your leadership dashboard organized around this metric?
Imagine what would change for you if it was — if your top priority was “showing brotherly/sisterly love.” Imagine what would change not just in terms of your effectiveness, but in the soul-deep pleasure you would take from leading.
Choose Behaviors of Love
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Do you know the most profound way to help others understand that you have their well being at heart?
Actually have their well being at heart and behave accordingly. Always.
That’s it. It’s that easy. And, that hard. It’s so hard, in fact, that there was only one person who was able to do it consistently, all the way to His death on the cross. Thankfully, you don’t have to go that far in service to your people. But, you can follow the leadership principles of the master servant leader and begin leading Jesus’ way.
It all starts with one step. Make a list. Right now. What is one small action you can take to show one of your employees that you love them and that you deeply care about their intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being? Imagine that this employee was a close friend. What encouragement would you offer? What support would you provide?
Little by little, one small expression of love at a time, you can become known as a different kind of leader. Humble. Kind. Genuinely invested not just in who your people are, but also in who they can become.
Take Stock of Your Outcomes
But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)
Practicing servant leadership – consistently showing love to all of the people you lead — is not easy. It is engaging, passion invoking, and extremely effective. But it’s not easy.
And, it is a choice!
Taking steps to become a servant leader requires a shift of your mindset. It is not something you “have” to adopt in order to bring out the best in yourself and others. Instead it is something you “get” to adopt to effectively and joyfully lead your team. It is your choice.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of servant leadership.
You can choose this path for yourself. Others have. They’ve proven time and again that leading with love brings in a harvest others can only dream of – not just spiritually, but also financially. You have an entire community waiting to support you.
The only question is, in 2018, are you willing to join them?
Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:3)