Archives For servant leadership

The One Thing Leaders Want

February 26, 2014 — 2 Comments

Leaders want dialog.

You want the ability to discuss, debate, shape and influence a decision before it is made.

The people you lead — or your teenage daughter, or the committee members at church, or the division heads of your organization — want the same thing with you.

Honest, open dialog facilitates shared leadership. Leaders want to share leadership.

This fascinated me, as when our organization restructured recently, one of the five principles guiding our efforts was “shared leadership.” Many leaders initially resisted this, claiming that the essence of leadership—at least in their culture—was having someone in charge to make the final decisions. Yet people don’t want to be led that way. They want to voice their opinions. They want to help shape overall direction. They long for the dynamic interaction among leader-followers that characterizes high performance teams. They want to be engaged in issues and decisions that they will ultimately own. They long to share leadership.

Leaders want dialog.

Read more on this topic in my book CLOSE: Leading Well Across Distance and Cultures.


A servant leader does what is necessary.

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What to do? 3 Quotes











It seems appropriate in this the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth that we look at a tale not of two cities but of two leaders.

In our leader-obsessed culture perhaps we should focus not on the leader but their leadership.

These two pictures portray leaders in action.

The leader in the left hand picture is serving the other person by enabling them to get to their level. The leader in the right hand picture is serving the other person by enabling them to go beyond him.

These pictures take us to the very heart of the issue, which is an issue of the heart. Where does a leader find his or her sense of identity? Is the leader secure enough in who they are and therefore willing to enable others to press on to higher things?

In the life of Jesus we see this second picture of leadership. John 13:3-5 informs us:

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

Unless we as leaders are secure in our position and in our identity, we will be unable to resist the temptation to solve other people’s problems (because it makes us feel good and massages our ego) instead of coaching our people and teams to solve their own problems. This is true empowerment. This is multi-generational servant leadership.

What do you think?

My friend and personal coach Paul Duncan lives in the UK and has been on staff of Agape (CCCi) since 1985. He currently is an executive agent for the European LDHR Director. He holds a Masters in Coaching and Mentoring from Oxford Brookes University; he is married with two daughters.


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