Servant Leadership: Following the Example of Jesus Christ and Mother Teresa

As leaders develop, it is important to understand servant leadership, exemplified by Jesus Christ and Mother Teresa. Servant leadership involves leading through serving others, becoming a bondservant, and sacrificing oneself for the benefit of others. This type of leadership is defined by an inner attitude where individuals willingly place themselves under the guidance of Jesus Christ and Mother Teresa. While obedience can be imposed by those in authority, submission is a personal choice made by followers to align with a leader.

Throughout history, some individuals have chosen to submit to Christ and follow his example.

Christ gives individuals the choice to either submit to him or follow other religious figures. Many religious leaders prioritize serving their community and demonstrate qualities of servant leadership as described by Robert Greenleaf, such as listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to personal growth, and community building (Greenleaf, 2002, p. #19-25). Among these traits, listening is highlighted as the most essential for a successful servant leader who actively listens to team members' concerns and works towards finding optimal solutions.

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While communication and decision-making skills are important for leaders in general, servant leadership stresses the significance of attentive listening to understand and support group members' needs and desires.

Mother Teresa stressed the significance of paying attention to the struggles and circumstances of the impoverished and needy, devoting her life to aiding them with the conviction that "Service to human is service to God." This underscores how crucial listening is for the development and welfare of a servant leader.

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Empathy is also key for exceptional leadership, as leaders aim to comprehend and empathize with others. It is essential to recognize and value individuals for their individuality, presuming good intentions even in difficult situations. As Mother Teresa once remarked, "The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted."

Mother Teresa exemplified servant leadership in her missionary work by founding orphanages, leprosy outreach clinics, shelters for the homeless, poor, disabled, and blind. Healing is an essential quality of a great servant leader as they can heal themselves and others. Servant leaders like Mother Teresa understand the chance to assist those in need by offering bandages, medicine, and food to the sick and hungry. Moreover, awareness - particularly self-awareness - is a key trait that empowers servant leaders.

Awareness is essential in understanding ethics, power, and values, allowing a more holistic perspective in various situations. Jesus Christ performed miracles but kept them secret to prevent opposition from religious leaders. Servant leaders rely on persuasion instead of authority to make decisions, aiming to convince rather than command. This approach sets them apart from traditional authoritarian models and allows them to build harmony within their group.

Mother Teresa exemplified visionary leadership by directing her efforts towards eliminating poverty and disease through the provision of medicine, bandages, food, and clothing to those in need. In contrast to conventional leaders who focus on immediate goals, servant leaders such as Mother Teresa engage in more comprehensive strategic planning. This enables them to grasp historical insights, current realities, and future implications of their actions. For instance, Mother Teresa chose not to proselytize her Catholic faith in order to avoid discord with Hindus and the Indian government, allowing her to carry on with her humanitarian work unfettered.

Stewardship, a key quality of great servant leaders, involves holding something in trust for the benefit of others. This concept emphasizes the importance of individuals within an organization working together to serve society. Servant leadership, like stewardship, focuses on prioritizing others' needs and promoting openness over control. Mother Teresa is a notable example of persuading others to provide care and services through their own decisions. A crucial characteristic of servant leaders is dedication to fostering personal growth and building community among those they lead while recognizing people's intrinsic worth beyond their roles as employees.

A servant leader understands the important duty of promoting the personal and professional growth of employees and colleagues. This may involve providing resources for development and empowering individuals to participate in decision-making. Additionally, servant leaders aim to foster a sense of community within the workplace, believing that genuine connections can be formed among individuals in various organizations.

Mother Teresa exemplified the power of persuasion in garnering support for her humanitarian endeavors, which encompassed establishing clinics and providing vital resources to those in need. Her efforts played a role in strengthening communities on a global scale. Servant leaders, like Mother Teresa, advocate for collaborative decision-making and prioritize ethical and compassionate actions. They strive to encourage personal and professional development among their followers by embodying qualities such as listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, and dedication to nurturing individuals and communities. Servant leadership has the potential to cultivate more empathetic and enduring institutions for a brighter tomorrow.

Updated: Feb 21, 2024
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Servant Leadership: Following the Example of Jesus Christ and Mother Teresa. (2016, Oct 12). Retrieved from

Servant Leadership: Following the Example of Jesus Christ and Mother Teresa essay
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