We are continuing our series on “Servant Leadership”, looking at the idea of “Doing What’s Beneath You.” Now, this topic presents an interesting tension in leadership. The ultimate goal of leadership is to empower others. Leaders aren’t those that get things done, but rather those that can lead others to get things done. As John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence.” With that said, it is very easy to often take that idea to the point that there are certain things that “beneath you” as a leader. Meaning, you have now achieved a certain status, and you no longer have to do certain things. But this isn’t the approach of the Servant Leader.
You see, while servant leaders aren’t ‘slave leaders’ and simply running around doing what everyone else was empowered to do, that doesn’t mean they stand on a high and lofty pedestal looking down on all of their lowly hirelings. You see, Servant Leadership isn’t about what you do, but about how you view what you do.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a leader that viewed you as simply the workforce to do everything they didn’t want to do. Chances are good that you didn’t follow that person for long. But on the flip side, hopefully you’ve had the privilege of following someone that you would go out of your way, even sacrifice your own time and energy, to do whatever that person needed. What is the difference? It’s all in how a leader views what they do and don’t do.
If you view certain things as “beneath” you, then those actually doing those things will naturally be “beneath” you. And the moment those you’re leading are ‘beneath’ you, is the moment you’ve now stopped leading, and instead you are dictating.