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Serving Leaders By Ken Jennings

Christian Leadership Alliance

By Ken Jennings Ph.D. ~

Just serve them!

That’s how Serving Leaders help their people achieve greatness. And that matters because it takes great people to make an organization great.

While some may consider this ‘serving’ approach paradoxical, it was the exact approach Jesus taught his disciples.

He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”

And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers.  But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:23-28, NASB

For many years, I have enjoyed a ringside seat observing particularly effective set of leaders. Building upon servant leadership foundations, I see a movement among leaders who put the principles of servant leadership into very practical and effective action.

I call them “Serving Leaders,” and I have studied their day-to-day, practical actions for building a talented workforce and achieving extraordinary results.

Serving Leaders make productive use of what has been learned through extensive organizational behavior research in expectancy theory, goal setting, and participatory management (Lawler, Locke and others). Research embedded in The Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership, and Jim Collins’ Good to Great, confirms that companies with Serving Leader-led cultures enjoy market returns well above their peers.

Shifting to a Serving Leader model can enable organizations to improve in critical metrics, as seen at The Cleveland Clinic, where employee engagement and patient satisfaction measures rose from a lower quartile baseline to exemplary levels following implementation of Serving Leadership.

Here are the five behaviors that define a Serving Leader:

1. Serving Leaders build on strength by arranging each person in the team, the business or the community to contribute what he or she is best at. This improves everyone’s performance and solidifies terms by aligning the strengths of many people.

2. Serving Leaders blaze the trail by teaching serving leader principles and practices and by removing obstacles to performance. These actions multiply the serving leader’s impact by educating and activating tier after tier of leadership.

3. Serving Leaders raise the bar of expectations by being highly selective in the choice of team leaders and by establishing high standards of performance. These actions build a culture of performance through out the team, business or community.

4. Serving Leaders upend the pyramid of conventional management thinking. They put themselves at the bottom of the pyramid and unleash the energy, excitement, and talents of the team, the business, and community.

5. Serving Leaders run to purpose by holding out in front of their team, business or community a ‘reason why’ that is so big that it requires and motives everybody’s very best effort.

What type of leader are you?


Ken Jennings, Ph.D., is a bestselling author, speaker, active consultant in leadership development and goal achievement and the Founder of Third River Partners. He is the co-author of The Serving Leader: Five Powerful Actions to Transform Your Team, Business, and Community.

At the Outcomes Conference: CLA Dallas 2016 you can dive deep into the principles of servant leadership. Register for the Academic Experience and enroll in  Academy Course 5: Leadership Encounter. This course is being lead by Rich Meiss, MBA, Director, Leadership Development Services – Lead Like Jesus. It’s time to awaken the Serving Leader in you!

Christian Leadership Alliance


What is Christian Leadership Alliance?

Christian Leadership Alliance equips and unites leaders to transform the world for Christ. We are the leaders of Christ-centered organizations who are dedicated to faithful stewardship for greater kingdom impact.

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