“Leaders aren’t born; they’re made.” Or so the saying goes. It has some truth to it. While many leaders are natural leaders – i.e., they have inborn leadership qualities – most leaders have to develop those qualities. Even if they have them, they still have to work on them. Talent and inherent ability only go so far.
The leaders who excel, though, are the ones who have learned to serve and who have learned to lead by example. They are not the angry drill sergeants. They are not manipulative. They do not lord their leadership skills or talents. They are humble. They are firm when they need to be. They are kind. They put their employees or co-workers before themselves. They give instructions, then proceed to follow the instructions that have been given. They understand that everyone in the organization has a role to play and that they have to fulfill their own role. No one person is more important than the other. Everyone is working toward the same goal and is necessary to achieving that goal. Leaders are not puppet masters. They do not keep people on a tight leash or choke chain. They give people room to be themselves and to solve problems in their own way. They give people the chance to grow. They entrust people with their ideas and visions.
Such leaders are rare; servanthood and leading by example are not necessarily popular ideas. They certainly aren’t easy ones to accomplish. Servanthood and leading by example require a consideration of others first. They require that a person relinquish his or her rights. They ask that a person redefine what ambition means and looks like. They also offer freedom – the freedom to pour oneself into the lives of others and the freedom to become the effective leader one was meant to be.
What do you think? Are servanthood and leading by example key traits of an effective leader?