When Natural Leadership Isn’t

“He’s a born leader.”

That description sounds great—until someone tries to dump the title on your own shoulders.

Leader? Who me?

Recently our small bible study group diverged from reading God’s Book and read The Servant Leader, by The One-Minute Manager author, Ken Blanchard and colleague Phil Hodges. In short, they set out to explore how the greatest leader in history—Jesus—led as a humble servant to others.

It was a mind twist to think that a great leader’s role is to be a servant to others. Did you get that? A servant; humbling ourselves to people who are above us in authority, but also to our colleagues as well as people we have authority over.

We lead by example. And the greatest example of the greatest leader, was Jesus, who came to serve.

And lest we think we may be exempt from leadership, we can look at all areas of our lives and all the different hats we wear throughout the day.

We may be the lowest person on the staff totem pole in the office, but do we have leadership (servant) roles with customers, clients, vendors?

Do we not work outside the home but have a leadership (servant) role with a spouse, child, grandchild or parent?

Do we have no family but have an opportunity to be a leader (servant) to a neighbor, friend or grocery store employee?

Or, like me, are you a writer who sits alone in a corner of a closed room, barely emerging long enough to refill the coffee cup and seldom leaving the house, but leading by the very words you write?

When we examine our lives, we find multiple areas where we have the real or potential for leadership. And leadership done right is when we do so with humility, seeking to find a way to make others successful, leading others to resolve answers, leading others to the One who is the greatest servant leader of all time.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? How many leadership roles do you have? Which area is most challenging for you? How might you twist your leadership focus toward servant hood? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This is a guest post by Carol Petersen. Carol’s mission is to educate, entertain and inspire. You can catch up with her at her website: carolpetersonauthor.com

I’m always looking for guest posters. If you would like to guest post, you can find the guidelines at An Invitation To Guest Post.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • As I read this, I couldn’t help think that NONE of us are natural leaders. Since leaders are servants and no human is naturally inclined to submit to serving others, all of us are learning and growing as we go.

    • Carol Peterson

      Really good point Justin!

    • So true Justin. It’s something we all have to work hard to accomplish.

  • Thanks, Joe and Carol. Stereotypical leadership of ‘my way or else’ is being set on it’s head. Actually, the other way around. The real leadership exemplified and taught by Jesus is serve first. It seems a good leader’s serving will never really end.

    • It’s great to finally see the shifting tide of leadership coming back to a proper way of leading, huh?. It’s refreshing and encouraging.

      • You’re right, Joe. It seems the internet is very instrumental in helping set things straight with the honesty and transparency factors that are put in place when someone puts themselves ‘out there’ online. Vulnerability. Thanks for being an important part of perpetuating and encouraging that spirit, Joe.

  • Carol Peterson

    Thanks Joe for letting me hang out here today!

    • Carol, it’s my honor to have you sharing today. Thanks for taking the time to write a few words and interact with those who read here.

  • Daniel Buhr

    Thank you, Carole and Joseph, for the great insights!
    People do have a natural desire to make a difference. They’re made to matter. And it’s a shame when they’re limited in doing so by the false notion that leadership requires a certain position or title. Therein lies the great power of servant leadership. It doesn’t turn the pyramid upside down, it eliminates the pyramid. If there is no position, there is no pyramid.
    In service we can make a difference in the lives of others. And when we are free to be a servant leader then we can make a difference through the lives of others, and in so doing fully live out the best of who we are and live into who we are called to be.
    Lead on!

    • Right on Daniel. How are you being a servant leader?

      • Daniel Buhr

        As a servant leader I live by a principle of people first. Every goal for what we can do is first considered in the context of a vision for who we can be. The ultimate purpose of whatever we do is that we become more from it.

  • This reminds me of an experience in Boy Scouts. I was chosen by the elders to be the Senior Patrol Leader – what? Yep, and I was far from the most senior guy in the group. Wow, that was weird to me. Why? lol… I’m not entirely sure to this day, I guess they thought I took it seriously and inspired others. I still think it’s funny. However, from the experience I learned an early lesson on leadership and being a servant. That was about all I could do as the other guys in the group were older, bigger, stronger, etc. I went to the meetings and shared something inspiring. Cool.

    Great thoughts here Carol, so glad that we did this network thing and that we got to know some new people.

    Love the new picture here Joe 🙂

    • Thanks Chris. My wonderful wife took the picture and I’ve got to say I’m thrilled.