Committing and following the journey of servant leadership is not always the easiest path. Many times as a leader you may find yourself reverting back to your prior comfort zone of command and control – this is autocratic leadership.

Reverting Back

This can be a natural response to stress, conflict or crisis. After all, it feels quicker, easier and more efficient when “things need to get done” to just step in, give orders and expect compliance. Recognizing that this can happen is an important first step.

Previous Training

It is very likely that this form of leadership is how you originally learned what it meant to be the “boss”. You have seen this modeled and even rewarded in the past, so it may feel natural to revert to this style of leadership.

However, your organization and team will see more success and be greater impacted by your actions when you come from a place of servant leadership. Studies have proven this. There’s data that clearly shows that organizations with a culture of servant leadership will far outperform those that don’t.

The Boss Mentality

So how do you know if you’re stuck in a “boss” rut? Here are a few common signs that indicate you might be suffering from a boss mentality:

  • Commanding as opposed to asking and listening
  • Driving others, as opposed to coaching them towards their best performance
  • Taking all the credit, as opposed to giving credit to others
  • Placing blame as opposed to taking responsibility and accountability for poor performance
  • Instilling fear, instead of inspiring energy, passion, and enthusiasm
  • Thinking about your self, as opposed to what is best for the team
  • Using people as a means to an end, instead of developing people and their gifts
  • Doing tasks, as opposed to teaching and allowing others to perform tasks


The Recovery Plan

If you do find yourself in this spot, I recommend the following action plan for recovery:

  • Be transparent and vulnerable with your team and repent. Let them know you have recognized your behavior is not in line with goal to be a servant leader and you would appreciate their forgiveness for your actions.
  • Listen to your team to determine the depth of the destruction that your behaviors may have caused. Based on their input, build a game plan for recovery.
  • Share your recovery plan with your team so they understand your intentions about how you will lead moving forward.
  • Find an accountability partner to help you in this process. Becoming the servant leader God created you to be will not happen without help. (More on this next week!)

Actively look for warning signs of things that push you back on your desired leadership journey. Becoming aware of these tendencies will help you step into recovery as quick as possible.

Remember, this is not just a quick fix. You will need to go through the recovery process more than once and that’s not a bad thing. What matters is that you are recognizing how to improve. Everyone falls short and by being vulnerable and upfront about your shortcomings with your team, you will gain their respect and they will embrace you all the more as their leader!

I’m curious, what have you found helpful to keep you on your journey towards “Becoming the Servant Leader That God Created You To Be”? Share it with us in the comments below.


Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.
Luke 22:25-26