God calls us into servant leadership. What does that mean? And more importantly, how can we be the leader God wants us to be in our businesses?
In today’s post, we’ll review what the secular world considers a leader and examine what God says is a leader. These two contrasting views will allow you to see what type of leader you are in your business.
God wants you to be set apart, meaning you need to show up in your business, prioritizing God’s way to be a leader.
Contrast Traditional vs. Servant Leadership
Many books have been written about servant leadership, leading like Jesus, etc. You may have read some of them. But what is servant leadership?
It is a philosophy in which the leader’s goal is to serve the team or your clients. That means the leader shares power, puts the needs of the group or clients first, and helps each person develop and perform at their best.
In contrast, traditional leadership in business focuses on the goals of the company or organization to thrive as a whole without considering the individuals.
Yes, a servant leader is people focused. Isn’t that what God wants us to be?
Specific Contrasts in Leadership
I want to take you through FIVE contrasts between traditional/secular business leaders and servant leaders in business. This is for you to check on how you are approaching your business and see where there is room for improvement.
Just a note, I know that many companies are using servant leadership in the business world at this time because they realize the value of valuing their employees. As believers, we are called to treat people specifically, not for our gain but for theirs.
(This is to let you know I am using the terms traditional/secular interchangeably. It is more about an attitude than an actual term.)
Let’s look at these FIVE areas. Where is your focus?
Obtaining the rank of leader vs. the opportunity to serve
Now I know you have your own business, so you are the leader of your business. But let me ask you
Is it more important to let everyone know you have an LLC, you are the CEO/Founder of your business, OR do you use your functional title, which is what you do for others when you describe your business?
Here’s the difference:
- I’m a Christian business growth strategist and clarity coach.
- I’m the CEO of Grow From Your Overflow, LLC.
So which one tells you what I do for others?
How are you introducing yourself on- and offline? What is the first thing you want others to know about who you are in your business?
God has given you the ability to lead others in a specific way. To serve them so they can get their problem solved. It is a gift to help others in this way.
If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.Romans 12:8
He gave you your business so you could lead well. How’s your attitude here? Are you seeing people as an opportunity to serve or a number to add your influence and revenue?
Using power and control to drive perfection vs. sharing power and control to drive engagement
Are you talking “at” people to show them how amazing you are, or are you conversing with them to really know how to meet their needs?
Even if you do not have a team yet, you could alienate people by showing up as the ‘know-it-all.’ So yes, it is essential to be seen as the expert in your space, but not at the cost of turning off those God has called you to serve.
This could mean you could be doing things in a way that seems, to those watching, that it is something they could never achieve. You have the ‘Instagram version’ of your business, the very carefully curated perfect business, and are not being honest about what is going on.
I’m not saying everyone needs to know all your problems, but they need to know you are real.
That’s the difference between sharing power and control. You are not afraid of letting your guard down, admitting when you’ve made mistakes, and letting others see things they can relate to because we are all going through the same thing. That’s where engagement happens. That’s where working together pays off for everyone.
In Galatians 5:25-26, Paul says this,
Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
God wants us to share what we have learned from the experiences He has brought us through. Where is the control and power pointing in your life? Is it driving you toward perfection or engagement?
Measuring success through productivity and results or measuring success through growth and development
One of the things that have been eye-opening for my clients and me is the satisfaction that is felt when you do what God wants you to do. Really, God is using your business to transform you, to grow you into the person He wants you to be.
This means not everything you do will have the results you expected. But, it will have the perfect impact. Does that surprise you?
The secular view of business success is making lots of money. It is the hustle culture. It is working toward your business goals at the expense of everything else. That is a success.
In God’s economy, He wants to not only develop you to have more patience, endurance, and self-control. But, in addition, he has called you to help others grow and develop into who He has called them to be.
I love that God is growing me through my business, and I “get to” help others grow too. Imagine the impact you can have when you view your success in watching the people you are supporting get the AHAs, move forward from their stuck place, and thrive on their own.
I am not saying you will not work hard in your business; I am saying it will succeed in ways you’ve never thought of before. God has given you this privilege. See success in the good you are doing for others.
Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.Proverbs 12:24 NLT
What is your mindset toward success? Does it center around staying busy and knocking out your goals, or does it focus on growing yourself and others? What are you achieving through your business?
Speaking vs. Listening
Do you have all the answers? Of course, there is no problem being the one others seek out because of your knowledge, but is it super important to you to have all the answers?
We must reassess when we hear ourselves talking more than listening to others’ voices. I came to my business knowing what I wanted to give the world. I just knew what Christian Women Entrepreneurs needed, and they were going to get it.
The problem? I never asked them what they wanted. I took my idea, wrote my program, created my website, and waited. Nothing happened. I was talking a lot, but I wasn’t listening.
Listening means finding out what it is that those you are called to serve want. Finding out what problem you can help them solve—being in conversation with them to know where they are and where they want to go.
This holds true for your existing clients. Continue listening to their needs and use these cues as prompts for creating new content. Your ideas are unique, but if you are just talking-talking-talking, everyone else will stop listening-listening-listening.
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.James 1:19
My advice? Bring them into your world with what they want, and then give them what you know they need. Then, they will think you ARE amazing. We have two ears and one mouth, and though the tongue is the strongest muscle in the body, we can tame it.
Give yourself an audit. Are you talking and listening in proportion o your biology, God’s design of you?
Believing it is about you vs. understanding, it is about them
In today’s world, the word ‘narcissist’ is common. How can it be avoided when the secular worldview, as speaker, blogger, and author, Natasha Crain sums it up:
Feelings are the ultimate guide.
Happiness is the ultimate goal.
Judging is the ultimate sin.
God is the ultimate guess.
The focus of the world is that we are only out for ourselves. So when you are leading your business just so it will make you happy, give you money, and let you speak “your truth” and not for the sake of genuinely helping others, God says it is wrong.
Yes, you are in business to make money. I do not deny that. Business is about making money. But, it has been proven that making money doesn’t buy happiness. It may make some things more accessible, but it is not the source of satisfaction in a well-lived life.
Your business needs to focus on who you serve and how you serve them. Does your business look like the “ME” show, or are you thinking and giving value first?
Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.1 Timothy 5:24-25
You can’t hide your intentions from God. He wants you to lead with a WIFT (what’s in for them) attitude. Your business is not for you to show off all you know. It is for you to serve those God has called you to do.
Look at your latest posts. Who are they focused on? Your expertise and how amazing you are or what you can do to help others solve their problem and be their best selves?
Contrast the Bible and the research
I also love when research lines up with the Bible. There is an enormous amount of evidence to back up the effects of Servant Leadership. These leaders have a vision, are honest, live in integrity, model behavior, are pioneers, and empower others. They are also good communicators, are very competent, understand stewardship, can teach, can delegate, and have influence.
We know all these qualities are part of what God calls us to be because He has called you and me to be in business, and He is the one who equips us to lead well. In addition, we “get to” share His goodness with others via our businesses.
Jesus said it best
In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.Luke 22:25-27 NLT
How are you showing up as a leader? Let me know in the comments if something pricked your heart. God calls us to be set apart, doing things differently in our businesses. God’s way to be a leader means being a servant leader.
If you think, “How do I become the leader God wants me to be?” I invite you to chat with me. Let’s discover how you can have the God-centered business God designed for you. Find the satisfaction of being in His Will and follow His direction for your business.