Greatness in Serving

I recently read an article written by Jean Vanier, founder of an international network of communities for the mentally disabled. I was struck by this statement in her article: “All authority, whether it be civil, parental, religious or community, is intended to help people grow towards greater freedom, justice and truth. Often, however, it is used for the honor, power, privilege and positive self-image of those who exercise it.”

As one who speaks on the subject of “Servant Leadership” this statement is the epitome of what this type of leadership really means. Unfortunately, far too many leaders forget why they lead. They are more concerned with their own perpetuation than carrying out the purpose of leadership. Exemplary leaders know that it is never about selfishness and always about serving those being lead.

If we closely examine the style of leadership in this country today, we will notice that service to others is always blanketed with a self-serving mindset first. As Vanier said, honor, power, privilege and positive self-image trump all other things. But unfortunately, the reality is that we get the kind of leadership we tolerate. And, that brings me to my final point—as citizens of this great Republic, we must raise the bar of expectations regarding those chosen to lead. Unless this change becomes the mindset of every citizen, we have no right to complain. We are getting exactly what we are willing tolerate.

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