Jesus calls us to a higher and better way in the way we lead, even in crises. Don’t lord leadership over others. Don’t exercise authority over them. Even in command-and-control times, we can demonstrate the servant leadership of Jesus and lead like him…
25 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
There is something happening right now which I don’t like, and I’m a core part of it. Because of COVID-19, my organization, like many others in the world, has an emergency operations centre. It’s virtual, of course. Five people in our case. We are on phone, text, email, and occasionally video conference all day. Every day.
We work against our typical values. You see, normally our organization is committed to a leadership style of servant leadership. These days, we in a mode of command and control. It’s military style. We have to make fast decisions and times, communicate the decisions, and we need compliance. Immediately. We’re being way less collaborative than is our norm.
In the military, command and control saves lives. In the time you stop to wonder and waffle or invite rounds of input and debate, you may have already lost a battle. It’s go time.
There is a good reason for what we are doing because I work in health care and senior services. And I’ll do anything to ensure every senior in our care makes it to the other side of the pandemic. Our motivation is still 100% all about others.
And that is Jesus’ point here. He was providing teaching on leadership to his closest followers, and Jesus called them to a higher and better way. Don’t lord leadership over others. Don’t exercise authority over them. I love that.
The image to me is someone who exercises, which people do regularly. They practice exercises. Jesus says don’t be like someone who practices authority over people. You might be in authority over people, but to practice or exercise lording and authority muscles doesn’t endear you to people.
I think one of the reasons our team is responding well, for the most part, to our emergency response team is that our normal practice is to serve them. And even in our command and control environment, our commitment is to continue to serve them.
I’m not giving up my life as a ransom for many. Jesus did that. I am, along with these other dedicated people, giving up every hour of every day and always willing to drop everything to respond to a need in our team that is aimed at serving the people we are trying to keep safe. In that sense, even in command and control times, we can demonstrate the servant leadership of Jesus.
If you are a leader in this, lead like Jesus.