The abuse of servant leadership mantra

HARARE - “Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living.” (Einstein).

Einstein was indeed a great thinker who spoke beyond his own time.

A commitment to the betterment of other world citizens would surely happen if everyone is driven by the commitment to be a servant of all.

Authoritarianism ought to be a thing of the past; there is no need to go by the dictatorship tendencies that we have lived to face and contend with.

There has been much talk about listening to the followers, being empathetic and sensitive to the demands of the people.

Most emerging leaders, whether political, social, business or spiritual have been known to declare how they are going to serve.

On accepting an influential office, it is almost a given that every leader in whatever sphere will promise closeness to the people; fully understanding them and making sure that their needs and expectations are met- seriously?

Interestingly, the inauguration speech by our president obviously resonated with such mantra.

It is the order of doing things anyway; after all, that is exactly what the learned people of this dispensation and generation are interested in hearing.

A leader is a dealer in hope after all, to reiterate the words of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The question, however is; isn’t this servant leadership concept being abused by power-hungry cadres who have no heart whatsoever for the masses.

I have been taught that greatness in leadership means great service; not slavery of those who are led — the obvious reality in most circles unfortunately.

In the present order, we unfortunately mistake leadership for dictatorship.

The dictator barks orders either through the mouthpieces of the various structures established to subvert the voices of those who desire to be heard.

Media was meant to be used for expression of various voices not to beam the voice of the masters.

When a leader fails to take into account the wants and needs of others then that leader does not deserve to be called by such a title. In the period of servant-hood, there is every need to self-introspect and determine if the very cause for assuming a leadership position is being adhered to.

A servant leader works determinedly to improve the welfare of his/her people. The servant heart is worried about what they can do for the betterment of others.

Can we be servants when we are worried about opulence, affluence, status and being saluted?

I have seen “Men of the cloth” who are guarded by muscular men wielding pistols in their jackets.

Servant leadership has it that the Master of Servant-hood (Jesus Christ) castigated his follower who had cut off the ear of a rival.

The essence of leadership comes down to creating a picture of how you desire your followers to lead their lives.

When political leaders go for treatment in foreign countries when they fall sick, there is indeed something wrong with the servant-hood concept. Leaders model what followers should do.

Servant leadership, which is not even exercised much, is wary about how the subjects are treated; knowing fully well that if they are treated well, then the best is going to be obtained from them.

The open door policy is good — it should be aligned with an open heart as well; what’s the point of getting through the door to be met with an iron heart?

Interacting with the followers is equally great but it should go beyond declarations made in public places.

Politicians should come down to know the type of water these people will be drinking.

They should have an appreciation of the modes of transport being used.

Standing in the bank queues for money will be asking too much for these leaders.

Servant-hood demands knowing how it feels to have empty shop shelves. One wishes the spiritual leaders would likewise know what it means being a congregant with nothing to eat at home and being told that it shall be well with the righteous whilst the “Man of gold” is living in absolute affluence.

Servant leadership goes down to the very heart of the matter of things and aligning with the manner in which others are leading their lives.

“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘enter you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the foundation of the world.

And here is why: ‘I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, ....I was in prison and you came to me.’

This is the very heart of servant leadership which must be espoused by all leaders across the spiritual, business, social and political divide — because whenever one does these noble deeds to someone overlooked or ignored, then such deeds are as unto God.


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