Leading by Serving
By Dr. Cora Hui,
Principal (Grades 4-12)
The academic year of 2016-2017 marks the 25th anniversary of Christian Alliance P.C. Lau Memorial International School. Among the spirit of celebration and thankfulness, it is pivotal for us to admire our Chief’s leadership and performance!
Who is Jesus to you? One might say that he is the Son of God, the Light of the World, the Great Shepherd, the Savior, the Messiah, or a very good teacher. In addition to all of the above, Jesus is a faithful servant, a great leader, and a loyal follower.
The life of Jesus is a model of servant-leadership. Robert K. Greenleaf (1970) states that a servant-leader is first a servant and he/she is very different from someone who is first a leader. The servant-first leader has his/her prime interest and focus on others, unleashing their potential in their context. A servant-leader is conscious and reflective of the following questions: “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?” (Greenleaf, 1970, p.13).
As Mary’s reply to the angel, “how will it be?” (Luke 1:34). The role and function of a humble servant is far far away from a powerful leader. Really, the world has not given an accurate imagery of servants. Some people may mistake servant-leaders as doormats, who often get stepped over and easily pushed around. However, it is not so. A servant-leader is assertive of moral values, and he/she is determined to achieve his/her life purpose. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and Anne Sullivan are examples of servant-leaders. The power and promise of servant-leadership bring fulfillment and meaning to those who embark on this journey. Our society is desperate for servant-leaders.
“The good news about servant-leadership is that it is not reserved for charismatic heroes and heroines.”
The good news about servant-leadership is that it is not reserved for charismatic heroes and heroines. Servant-leadership is within reach of everyone. The spotlight is not on a single person, but on those whose lives are touched, nurtured, and liberated throughout the process: the servant-leader and the followers. Servant-leadership is not about denial of self, but wholeness, harmony, purposeful living
In his epistle to the church of Philippi, Paul urged the Philippians to follow the attitude and mindset of Jesus Christ, “who, being in very nature God,… made himself nothing, taking the nature of a servant, being made in
human likeness” (Philippians 2:6-7). The only requirement of being and becoming a servant-leader lies in one’s conscious choice to value others and their betterment as a way of living.
A serving heart is filled with compassion. “When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things” (Mark 6:34). Caring and serving are the heart and hands of a servant-leader. It manifests in small acts of kindness to life-saving missions.
Ethical, respectable leadership begins from within. The tests in the wilderness (Matthew 4: 1-11) give us hints of Jesus’ confidence of his identity and his approach to power, fame, and priority. It is a result of spiritual discipline, a combination of praying, fasting, and knowing and applying God’s word. It says that “better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32). Knowing and leading self in the light of God’s loving grace enable and empower us to serve and lead others effectively.
This year, CAIS celebrates 25 years of God’s faithness in leading our journey. God gives us the mission to cultivate learners with knowledge, skills, integrity and discernment, growing in love for God and services to humanity. This undertaking is for you and me, learners of CAIS community. We are thankful of Jesus’ example of servant-leadership, and look forward to His continual guidance in the coming years. Let’s respond by following Him closely, as well as being and becoming servant-spouse, servant-parent, servant-son/daughter, servant-student, servant-teacher, and/or servant-coach. It is the servant who leads by serving others.
This article was published in the Autumn 2016 edition of the CAIS Lions Roar Newsletter. Read more articles like this here.