Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve….You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.
The Four Questions of 21st Century Leadership
Who Are You Serving?
How Can You Best Serve?
Are You Making Your Unique Contribution?
What Are You Becoming?
–James Strock, Serve to Lead
You may be a business man or some high degree thief,
They may call you Doctor or they may call you Chief
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody.
I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
The servant-leader is servant first… Becoming a servant-leader begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first… The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and the most difficult to administer, is this: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?
Our duties naturally emerge form such fundamental relations as our families, neighborhoods, workplaces, our state or nation. Make it your regular habit to consider your roles—parent, child, neighbor, citizen, leader—and the natural duties that arise from them. Once you know who you are and to whom you are linked, you will know what to do.
In the wired world of the twenty-first century, advancing shared values creates value.
—James Strock, Serve to Lead
A fresh critical look is being taken at the issues of power and authority, and people are beginning to learn, however haltingly, to relate to one another in less coercive and more creatively supporting ways. A new moral principle is emerging, which holds that the only authority deserving of one’s allegiance is that which is freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader in response to, and in proportion to, the clearly evident servant stature of the leader. Those who choose to follow this principle will not casually accept the authority of existing institutions. Rather, they will freely respond only to individuals who are chosen as leaders because they are proven and trusted as servants. To the extent that this principle prevails in the future, the only truly viable institutions will be those that are predominantly servant led.
Actually I think this is one of the most profound changes that more openness and transparency brings: It puts more weight and importance on building better social relationships and being more trustworthy.
Organizations exist to serve. Period. Leaders live to serve. Period.
The single most important thing to remember about any enterprise is that results exist only on the outside.The result of a business is a satisfied customer. The result of a hospital is a satisfied patient. The result of a school is a student who has learned something and puts it to work ten years later. Inside an enterprise there are only costs.
True marketing starts…with the customer, his demographics, his realities, his needs, his values. It does not ask, “What do we want to sell?” It asks, “What does the customer want to buy?”
When you obsess about the customer, you end up defeating your competition as a byproduct. When you are just obsessed about the competition, you end up killing yourself, because you are not focused on the customer.
Work is love made visible.
Action expresses priorities.
Choice of attention—to pay attention to this and ignore that—is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer.
About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.
It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself….Serve and thou shall be served.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is an exciting business and most exciting when lived for others.
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world, is and remains immortal.
No one can truly divine their own interest—but everyone can do their duty.
—James Strock, Serve to Lead
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Image Credit | Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Press Conference, March 1964, Marion S. Trikosko, Library of Congress, Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
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Servant Leadership Quotations | Serve to Lead Group | James Strock