Servant Leaders Don't Aim For Compliance


Is my leadership fostering compliance or constructive interaction?

I was reading "The Business Case For Servant-Leadership" by James D. Showkeir in Focus On Leadership when I saw this:

Compliance is not commitment. Compliance does not create passion. Compliance does not make individuals wiser. Compliance does not encourage choosing accountability. Compliance does not lead to creativity, flexibility, differentiation, and speed. Compliance does not create meaning and purpose. Compliance does not breed freedom. Meaning, purpose, and freedom ensure from struggle, risk, and engagement; compliance cuts us away from these. If, in fact, the business does not need any of these things, then compliance is a reasonable answer. Servant-leadership is much more than putting a compassionate face on compliance.

Christian leaders understand the principles of authority and submission.

God places people over us. We acknowledge that authority, submit to it, and work within it. We see examples of authority and submission  with respect to government (Romans 13:1-7), marriage (Ephesians 5:21-33), family (Ephesians 6:1-4), and church leadership (Hebrews 13:17).

Showkeir's focus on compliance is not an abdication of authority and submission, but an application of collaboration and empowerment, themes consistent with the Word of God (e.g. Nehemiah 4:6; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10; Romans 12:3-8; Philippians 1:5).

Shokeir's paragraph raises an important question for every leader: "Is my leadership fostering compliance or constructive interaction?"

Leaders can build a spirit of healthy interaction and collaboration in many ways. Here are three:"

  1. Take time to build team relationships. Trust is the foundation for healthy interacation. Trust is built over time. Take the time.
  2. Open up the communication pipeline. Healthy interaction comes with "freedom of speech." Tell your team, "You can say anything to me." Back up those words by actively seeking their input.
  3. Adopt a new motto.  Constructive interaction comes when teams focus on solutions and not personalities. Adopt this motto as a  team: "We will attack the problem and not the person."

As Showkeir notes, "Servant-leadership is much more than putting a compassionate face on compliance." Servant leaders don't want "Yes Men." Servant leaders foster healthy interaction.  

And David Shepherded them with integrity of heart; With skillful hands he led them. Psalm 78:72 NIV