Advancing social change begins with recognizing that we each have the power to serve and lead. According to Robert Greenleaf, who coined the term servant leadership, this exercise of power “[…] begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” Our challenge is to tap into this transformative power and leverage it to promote the betterment of society.
This type of leadership is essential for addressing the social justice challenges of our time. For instance, according to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, every hour 50 young women are infected with HIV/AIDS. 1 in 9 people worldwide remain hungry. These are present day challenges however this does not have to be our reality in the future. Greenleaf described these type of social issues as evidence of a leadership crisis. This occurs when a true servant leader fails to pick up the mantle of leadership. As a servant leader, you can work to end the spread of HIV/AIDS. As a servant leader, you can end hunger in order to ensure no person goes to bed hungry. This is a call to service. How will you move from inaction to strategic action?
Servant leadership compels individuals to take action which is a moral imperative to exercise the values of empathy, compassion, justice, and equity. Together, we can advance a shared vision of justice. The exercise of servant leadership offers practical, innovate solutions for advancing social change by creating a community centered model where each person is called upon to leverage his or her gifts & talents to make a difference in the world.
These quotes will challenge you to discover the leader within. This is a journey of discovery where you must seek to find your calling and purpose. A key question to consider is: What will your leadership legacy be? This question focuses on whether your leadership will positively impact the lives of future generations.
A servant leader also empowers others to lead their own change. 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. Ask yourself: Does your leadership cause others to experience personal and professional growth?
1. If I am not for myself, who will be for me? When I am for myself alone, what am I? If not now, when? -Rabbi Hillel
2. Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
3. Do your little bit of good where you are. It’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world. -Archbishop Desmond Tutu
4. The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. -Mohandas Gandhi
5. Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed. -Rabbi Heschel
6. My life is my message. -Mohandas Gandhi
7. One does not regret having helped another. -Kenyan Proverb
8. If you can’t feed one hundred people, then just feed one. -Mother Teresa
9. I have found that among its other benefits, giving liberates the soul of the giver. -Maya Angelou
10. Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth. -Shirley Chisholm
Which leadership quotes inspire you to serve and lead? Please post in the comments.