The faster the world revolves, the greater the need for social revolution. However, the needed revolution is not the radical kind which is accompanied by violence and war as is being experienced in several nations across the globe. Unfortunately, the majority of the political leaders have chosen the tit for tat route in responding to the yearnings and cries of the marginalized sect of the population. Consequently, there is more violence and chaos.
On the contrary, the social revolution starts with the transformation of the mind. Therefore, advancing social change begins with everyone recognizing the innate power to serve and lead. When we all understand our capacity, we take upon ourselves the responsibility of changing the world irrespective of titles or positions. Social revolution is the reconceptualization of leadership.
Interestingly, holding a position or being in charge doesn’t make you a leader. Authority is not leadership; influence is. While we cannot entirely disconnect authority from the leadership equation, I don’t believe we should begin there. Robert K. Greenleaf believes that a leader is a servant first. “It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” He also said, “Good leaders must first become good servants.” David Walters also added, “Leadership is an opportunity to serve. It is not a trumpet call to self-importance.”
The challenge of revolution or social change is to tap into this transformative power and leverage it to promote the betterment of society. Servant leadership, as Robert Greenleaf coined it, is essential for addressing the social justice challenges of our time.
The Essence of Servant Leadership
The essence of servant leadership is based on the principle that when leaders serve, servants lead. In other words, a servant leader empowers others to lead their own change. When leaders serve, the subordinates are confident and gain pride in being called servants; this conscious choice brings them to aspire to lead.
It’s unfortunate, considering the image the common leadership style has formed in the minds of many, including children. While many crave to lead and be in positions, it is rare to see the enthusiasm to serve. This desire to take front seats is obviously not for service, but for money and fame. And this has negatively impacted every unit of our society. It is the reason for corruption, electoral malpractices, and several social vices.
Several seemingly insurmountable issues in the society will be levelled by simply adopting the correct leadership model. Servant leadership compels individuals to take action, which is a moral imperative to exercise the values of empathy, compassion, justice, and equity. The exercise of servant leadership offers practical, innovative solutions for advancing social change by creating a community-centered model where each person is called upon to leverage his or her gifts and talents to make a difference in the world.
A servant leader’s success is not measured by title, rank, or position. Instead, the servant leader’s accomplishments are reflected in the sense of agency developed in the lives of others. It is the sense of ownership and trust developed in the followers. True leaders serve and watch their servants lead.