Written by Sharon Wanja, a student at Jomo Kenyatta University
We all know what leadership is right? I mean we have all this leaders from presidents to bosses to class prefects to the parents at home; but my question today is, what is servant leadership?
My Lapid experience has been a very exciting one. Lapid Leaders Africa, as the name clearly states is all about teaching people like me to become leaders in the near future, good leaders. When we joined lapid, as cohort 3, we all took an online personality testonline personality test and I was surprised by my test outcome which was COMMANDER (ENTJ-A). I actually did the test again just to make sure it wasn’t some sort of error. My surprise came from the fact that I just never thought of myself as a commander.
As the subsequent days would have, I ended up being selected to be the group leader of SWAT (best group ever we actually won a few things *celebration*)
I’ll share my journey as a leader with you today as I try explain who a servant leader is in my opinion.
My servant leadership journey
SWAT is a group of 9 outliers who were with me through the whole journey. Leading a group of people you just met of course wasn’t a bed of roses, but we actually made it through the fighting and disagreements, the late night meetings and the endless tasks because we worked as a family. Team work is key.
As a leader I had to keep the interests of my group members first, as I believe servant leadership is a two way street that allows everyone to participate and air their views. We all aimed at building and encouraging each other. Being there for each other not only during Lapid class hours, but also out there in the real world with other life issues. They became the kind of people I could pick up the phone in the middle of the night just to share that thought that has been bothering me all day, they became family.
The other way I got to experience servant leadership was through community service. Community service, this was and still is my favorite part of the Lapid experience. I volunteered at Hope babies’ children home in Mountain View. I love children and getting the chance to spend an evening with them was obviously very exciting. I helped do the dishes, clean the floor, feed and play with the babies (this was my favorite duty) and many other exciting things.
In addition, throughout the Lapid experience most of the Mentors and speakers we have had have all emphasized on the importance of giving back to society so I believe helping out with the babies was my way and it was exciting, a good way to end my week. I actually looked forward to Sundays which is rare since it’s so close to Mondays. *laughs*
Lapid taught me that being a leader is not about being ahead of everyone. Leadership is about being able to work with everyone to achieve a given goal, helping each other go further faster, being committed to everything you do, being humble and giving back to society. And that is the true meaning of servant leadership. Unfortunately, these are qualities that many of our leaders lack.
So ask yourself are the leaders that came to your mind in the first paragraph of this blog really servant leaders? Are you a servant leader?