Servant Leadership Means Putting People First
If you’re anything like me, you have days when you hit the ground running, laser-focused on the job at hand. Some days I’ll have back-to-back meetings, and I’ll find myself momentarily forgetting personal connection with those around me.
I had a day like that recently when I spent some productive, one-on-one time with a few people on my team. Unfortunately, although we accomplished a lot, I didn’t take full advantage of the time.
As I was praying the next morning, God revealed how I missed the mark a bit in those conversations. I realized that during the one-on-one meetings, I neglected to ask either of those employees about how they were doing personally or spiritually.
And just like that, God gave me another opportunity to grow as a person and a leader.
I have to walk the walk.
I make a point to coach our team to prioritize God, family, and then work, in that order. If I don’t live those values, then those are just empty words. Being a servant leader means I don’t simply care about the work getting done. I truly care about the people around me, and I must show that through my words and actions.
God has given each of you a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts.
Use them well to serve on another.
1 Peter 4:10 NLT
God has gifted you and me with the gift of leadership. We should use it to serve others well.
Personal connections with our employees benefit everyone
Good leaders inspire others to follow their examples. When we pay attention and steward our employees as people first, those behaviors take root and flow throughout the company. Our personal connections inspire a sense of unity of purpose.
Everyone wants to feel valued beyond their ability to produce. I add value to others as people when I set aside the work for a moment and show interest in them on that more personal level. All these elements create a sense of family and belonging.
“For even the Son of man came not to be served but to serve others
and to give His life as a ransom for many.”
Mark 10:45 NLT
It’s easy for anyone to get caught up in the immediate job that needs to be done, but since I want to grow as a servant leader, there are a few ways I consistently remind myself of our core mission. I hope you find these helpful.
- Listen to God.
It’s so important to start each day with prayer and God’s Word. We will never be the leaders God’s called us to be without His leading and guiding. So no matter what’s on your mind, keep your heart open to His message to you.
- Remember your “why.”
We started this homebuilding business for the sole purpose of reaching people for Christ and giving to the Kingdom. This is as true today as it was back then. So I make a point to remind myself and our team of this mission as frequently as possible. Everything goes back to this -- every meeting, every conversation, every decision.
You have a “why” too. What is your purpose? Keep this at the forefront.
- Don’t lose sight of your employees as humans.
Remember, your employees are people. They have entire lives that happen outside the walls of our businesses. Be curious about them. You’ll be amazed at how much more effective you can be as a manager once you better understand what motivates someone at their core and what makes them tick. In turn, you’ll inspire a deeper loyalty through your mutual human connection.
Being a servant leader isn’t always easy, but it is what God’s called us to do. When we remember that our companies are about people first, we are following God’s example. I believe God will grow and bless us as we aim to be servant leaders in our homes and in our work.
What are some ways you follow the example of Jesus as a servant leader in your own life?