“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?” ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
Servant Leadership looks different to every person. Some view it as an assistant asking or doing tasks for others so they can focus on what they do best. Others see it as putting other people’s needs before the servant leader’s needs. Still others see it as “leading from the front”, while others see it as leading while keeping in mind those that follow the leader.
While there is truth to all of these views, we can better grasp a topic like Servant Leadership by looking to examples of Servant Leadership today and throughout history. Martin Luther King Jr. provides us one example of Servant Leadership that we can emulate. While Americans often remember him for his “I have a dream” speech and his non-violent approach to leading the civil rights movement in the 1960s, he didn’t just lead this movement, but served it too. He was arrested 30 times while participating in protests, serving those that he lead.
He was a man with a singular vision, a world where people are judged on their charecter and not the color of their skin. But he also knew the way forward, through non-violent protests and civil disobedience of unjust laws. He was a leader who had vision, knew the way forward, and served others in ultimate service to his vision to change the world. While the entire world may not have achieved the vision he set out, it has been transformed by it and the way he worked towards it.
And remember, “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.”