I don’t like proud people. They make me turn into a rage monster on the inside and I lose my peace. What’s ironic is that I myself can be pretty proud sometimes – just ask my wife! But moving on, in my opinion proud people with power are the worst. That’s why as leaders it’s so important to remain humble.
In ancient Jewish history there was a king called Rehoboam who was as proud as they come, and he paid dearly for it. His daddy was King Solomon, so he’d been born with a golden spoon in his mouth. Literally. Banquets, palaces, chariots, he’d been spoiled with it all. So when his time came to take the throne, he was pretty conceited, to say the least.
He did however condescend to ask his advisers how he should treat his subjects. They were wise fellows, and, to paraphrase, advised the king the following: “if you serve your people, they will be your servants forever.” Unfortunately for himself, the king was a fool – as most proud people are – and he did the opposite. He scolded his people and threatened them with torture and hard labour. In return, most of his kingdom rebelled against him, killed his slave driver, and elected their own king for themselves. Talk about losing the farm.
So what can we do to avoid being an embarrassment like Rehoboam? Firstly, don’t be proud, and never ever think that you’re entitled to leadership. Trust me, you’ll just make people despise you.
Secondly, don’t be ‘violent’ in the way you lead. Don’t be a bully. If history has taught us anything, it’s that leaders who use force, coercion and violence almost always come to a sticky end.
Finally, understand that what goes around comes around. If you as a leader want people to serve your vision, you need to serve them. If you make life hard for them, they’ll make life very hard for you … Rehoboam is a good case in point. But give and you’ll be given back. Help others and they will help you. Jesus said that the greatest amongst you must be the servant of all.
I don’t know about you, but it seems to be common sense to me: Servant leadership is just better.
What practical tips do you have for how to serve those you lead?