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In a recent manager meeting, we discussed the importance of managers providing servant leadership in their departments from How To Lead By The Book by Dave Anderson.  Servant Leadership is not for sissies.  Despite the weakness often associated with the word “servant”, serving effectively demands enormous strength.  Some people are easier to serve than others.  Even Jesus washed the feet of Judas Iscariot who would sell him out that very evening.  The essence of servant leadership is to add value to others by meeting their needs.

Dave Anderson shared his experience of traveling to Israel with John Maxwell who is a great leader as well as a celebrity.  Everywhere they visited, John gave a small lesson to add insight and value to the group’s experience.  John performed a hilarious rap and dance that reenergized the tired tour group, which made him more approachable.  In the Garden of Gethsemane, he served everyone communion.  At Caesarea in the Roman Theater, John brought to life Paul’s bold defense there before King Agrippa and, after the lesson, invited anyone who wanted to talk more about Jesus and faith to visit with him.  Following a rain shower, while everyone was in line getting food, John took his handkerchief and dried off the chairs the group would be using for lunch.  Even with a nonstop schedule, John took the time to meet personal needs.  He prayed one-on-one with whoever asked.  Many times, despite the frantic pace and bustling crowds, John wrapped his arm around the shoulder of another, walking, listening, conversing and encouraging.  He tirelessly posed for hundreds of photos with group members at each stop.  John even bought ice cream and other goodies for the entire bus, adding life, love, and laughter as we sojourned for nine days across Israel.  John was one of the tour’s leaders, its biggest celebrity, and its most noble servant.  Of the many priceless memories and lessons my family and I took away from our pilgrimage to Israel, John Maxwell’s real-life lessons on how to be a servant-leader were the most valuable – and remain the most memorable.

A Servant-Leader’s Job Description

1 – Lead by example, with unquestionable character and consistent competence.

2 – Set clear vision and expectations for followers.

3 – Give honest feedback so that team members know where they stand and how to improve.

4 – Train, coach and mentor those you are responsible for to upgrade their skill levels and make them more valuable.

5 – Keep your commitments, without excuses, regardless of the cost.

6 – Show team members what good performance looks like, without doing their job for them!

7 – Engage and listen to team members so that they feel understood.

8 – Learn how to motivate everyone on your team as a unique individual.

9 – Model the right attitude, integrity, and discipline.  Be a walking example for the behaviors you value and expect to see in others.

10 – Care enough to confront team members and hold them accountable when they are off track.

11 – Positively reinforce team members, let them in on things, demonstrate appreciation for their contribution and look for opportunities to build them up.

12 – Give new opportunities, latitude, and discretion so each team member can stretch beyond his or her comfort zone and grow.

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