Sunday, July 26, 2020

Congressman John Lewis, a Servant Leader?

Stu Moring and his wife, Gay
My brother-in-law, Stu Moring, former Public Works Director for Roswell, GA, said this about Congressman John Lewis. 

“I only met him one time, when I was in Washington for legislator visits with ASCE. I was so honored to meet him, but he treated me like he was the one being honored.  He was a true Servant Leader!”

I asked Stu what he meant by Servant Leader and this is his answer: 

My use of the term servant leader comes from the book by the same name by Ken Blanchard ("The One Minute Manager") and Phil Hodge. 

The idea is to "lead like Jesus."  From Matthew 20:25-28, "Jesus called them together and said, ' You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lorded over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many." 

They compare self-serving leaders with servant leaders as follows: "Self-serving leaders spend most of their time protecting their status. If you give them feedback, how do they usually respond? Negatively. They think your feedback means that you don't want their "leadership" any more.  Servant leaders, however, look at leadership as an act of service. They embrace and welcome feedback as a source of useful information on how they can provide better service."  

Jesus, of course, was the perfect model, and I believe this is an effective approach for anyone in leadership, but particularly for politicians who are intended to be serving their constituents.  Not exactly what we have in Washington right now. In short, I believe a servant leader sees his job as providing the necessary tools and resources to his "subordinates" so they can excel at the service they ultimately provide. 

With that approach, I was able to surround myself with some truly exceptional people, and they were able to accomplish extraordinary results. Think about it--I didn't have the strength or stamina to dump garbage cans all day long, or the skill to repair broken water lines and meters, but guys I worked with excelled at those tasks.  And that's what servant leadership is all about.  



Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0849996597/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

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