The servant leader is one who seeks God first and then seeks to help fellow men because without God’s acceptance and guidance, the leader would not effectively help their followers. Choudhary, Akhtar, and Zaheer (2013) stated, “servant leadership can be broadly defined as a desire from leaders to motivate, guide, offer hope and provide a caring experience” (pp. 434-435). From a Christian worldview, we are taught to demonstrate the qualities and traits of Jesus in order to be considered a servant leader. According to Atkinson (2014), Jesus would encourage his followers “to aspire to servant-leadership” (pp. 149-150). DeSensi (2014) stated, “Every servant leader provides direction, informing followers of their responsibilities and accountability” (p. 62). Servant leaders are dedicated to the growth and development of their followers which is one of the great aspects of leading others. In order to effectively lead, “we must seek first His kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33, New International Version). A plant manager for General Mills said servant leadership has changed “the way we lead and the questions we have and the behaviors we have” (DeWitte, 2014, p. 6).
Jesus Christ epitomized the essence of what a servant leader should be. Jesus’ example of servant leadership also reminds us of what we are commanded by God to do. Matthew 22:39 states, “Love your neighbor as yourself”(New International Version). The focus of the servant leader is based on the development and empowerment of others through love, not on one’s self. Dr. Young Soo Chung (2011) says that love, “the love of human beings”, is the core value of servant leadership (p. 162). Just as Jesus had “an among relationship” with His disciples and followers, servant leaders should seek to do the same (Chung, 2011, p. 168). One way that Boone and Makhani (2012) suggest creating an among relationship is to listen “intently to followers’ ideas” (p. 90). “Servant leadership is not rooted in a quest for power, fame, or any self-centered goal. It is something a person discovers, not a leadership style one leader can teach another” (Giampetro-Meyer, Brown, Browne & Kubasek, 1998, p. 1734).
The vision of a steward leader is slightly different. A steward leader “has a spirit of generosity and a spirit of gratitude for all the incredible gifts that God has provided. Out of this spirit of generosity and responsibility, the steward gives freely of time, talent and resources” (Ebener, 2011, pp. 17-18). Steward leadership requires that we engulf ourselves in the Word of God and lead based off biblical understanding. “Stewardship requires the willingness to be accountable for the well-being of the larger organization by operating in service, rather than in control, to those around us” (Walker, 2003, p. 21). Being a steward leader requires that we humble ourselves and seek to decrease our prideful nature because when we are not being self-centered, we have more time to focus on what God has intended for us to do.
It is important that we resist powerful temptation of self-interest and be motivated by broader values and principles (Caldwell, Hayes & Long, 2010, p. 497). “Steward leaders develop, nurture, and protect a culture of character in the organization through their leader…