The desire for recognition can be a major battle for those trying to be servant leaders. The need for recognition does not always manifest itself as a pride issue, but can cause an individual to constantly examine if their contribution to their work, family, or ministry is having any type of impact on others (Fischer, 2010). This constant examination may also lead to a person becoming a workaholic and in turn cut out people, church involvement, family time, and friendships (Fischer, 2010). The constant drive to be successful produces stress and even arrogance. The individual will look at himself as the smartest person in the room and fail to value the ideas of others. This is dangerous because there is not a single person who has all the answers. It is key to for leaders to constantly communicate with those whom they are leading. This will allow the leader to see the needs of others and serve them and understand their perspective (Fischer, 2010).
The loss of a position is one of the biggest fears of a self-serving leader. Servant leaders view leadership as an opportunity to serve others (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003). Americans live in a very competitive culture and every position goes to the person who is most qualified. This culture demands advancement. Servant leaders go against this demand because they are driven by training others to carry on after their season of leadership is finished ((Blanchard & Hodges, 2003). Too much focus on advancement will produce an attempt to control the situation, the attempt will produce failure, and failure will cause some to have stress and anger issues (Fischer, 2010). Anger and stress produce self-serving leaders who are only seeking self-advancement.
Servant leaders need to take time and rest. The Bible speaks of the requirement for the nation of Israel to take a Sabbath day to do no work. The land they farmed also needed rest which caused them to not plant every seventh year (Fischer, 2010). Taking a rest place results into the hands of others. For the Christian, a rest places the results in God’s hands and as a result, the individuals’ faith is increased (Fischer, 2010). It is also important to cut back on distractions.
Richard Foster suggest that it is good to get rid of addictions, avoid greed by giving things away, and learn to enjoy thing without owning them (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003, p. 32). Life and the drive to be successful can be damaging. It is key to focus on God due to the fact that he will shape your motives to benefit his mission and be a servant leader (Psalm 37:4).
Blanchard, K., & Hodges, P. (2003). The Servant Leader. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.
Fischer, K. (2010). Personal Application [Presentation]. Retrieved from