Leaders Fail to Lead If They Fail to Serve

July 18, 2013


I’ve done a lot of reading on leadership the past ten years. You probably have too.

Much of the leadership content tends to feed the ego of leaders:

  • “stick to your vision and share it passionately”
  • “stay out in front of your people and they will follow”
  • “don’t pay any attention to your detractors”

I’ve had good leaders and I’ve had poor leaders. You probably have too.

What’s the difference in a good leader vs. a poor leader? A good leader serves her people; a poor leader fails to serve his people.

In contrast to feeding the egos of our leaders, we need to bring their hearts back down to earth while helping them to keep their heads up in the clouds. This approach changes the advice we give to leaders to:

  • “share your vision passionately, in a way that we can relate to it, and allow us to enter into how it is formed”
  • “stay in front of us but take the time to come along side us and understand our world too”
  • “learn from constructive criticism, hear our ideas, and enable us to grow in our work, ministries and passions too”

Read Being A Good Follower

We all need good leaders. Good leaders need good followers. Leaders need followers who will support them because the leaders:

  • care about them and their personal lives and families
  • help them to be fulfilled in their work and ministry
  • spend time in the trenches
  • show their vulnerability [read 9 Benefits to Missionary Vulnerability]
  • encourage | exhort | reward | question | motivate | listen to | follow up and follow through | serve

Yes, we want real people for our leaders, men and women who aren’t into self-protection but who invite us into a special purpose. You serve others by meeting their needs and pointing them to something greater than yourself.

Leaders fail to lead if they fail to serve.

Leaders need to keep their heads in the clouds but their hearts in the trenches.

Leaders need to keep their heads in the clouds but their hearts in the trenches.

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