This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series The Servant by James C. Hunter

In this chapter we will be looking at leadership as a way to serve others. This does not mean leaders must fulfill the want of others, but to treat everyone with love and respect.

James Hunter describes leadership as a form of loving others, Agape love. Agape love here is referred to as a verb, not a noun. Agape can also be translated to charity, rather than love which makes it a little easier to understand. The list of behaviours that imply Agape are the following:

  • Patience – The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset
  • Kindness – The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate; Giving attention, appreciation, and encouragement
  • Humility – A modest or low view of one’s own importance; Authentic;  Without pretence or arrogance
  • Respectfulness – A feeling of deep admiration and importance for others
  • Selflessness – Being concerned more about the needs and wishes of others than with one’s own
  • Forgiveness – Giving up resentment and discontent when wronged
  • Honesty – Simple; Being free of deception; Unpretentious; Unsophisticated.
  • Commitment – Sticking to your choices and being dedicated to a cause

As people, we would naturally love and respect our family members. Here, we learn that effective leadership comes when the above characteristics and behaviours are used to treat everyone. Therefore, to be a congruent leader one must align his actions with intentions. This goes far to prove that people cannot always control how they feel about other people, but they certainly are in control of how they behave towards other people.

George Washington said the following about kindness: “Be kind to others. How far you go in life depends upon your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in your life, you will have been all of those.”

Deep down, every person feels unique, important, and wise. Therefore, paying attention to people and making them feel important is a strong trait to have. Active listening is one of the easiest ways you can practice to empower others.

Active listening requires you to silence all the internal conversations while we’re attempting to listen to another human being in a disciplined fashion. Active listening is essentially a  sacrifice, or a selflessness, to block out internal and external distractions and truly enter another person’s point of view – to view things as the speaker views them and attempting to feel things as the speaker is feels them. This identification with the speaker is referred to as empathy and requires a great deal of effort.

It is important to know how a leader deals with wrongful behaviour of others while addressing them in a way that is meaningful. As leaders, we must be assertive. Assertiveness behaviour is being open, honest, and direct with others but is always done in a respectful manner. By being respectful, we must love. And to see what James Hunter means by love, we can revisit the list of traits above and apply them to times we are building relationships.

The leadership qualities always require you to address issues directly. As an example, forgiving behaviour is dealing with situations as they arise in an assertive manner and then letting go of any remaining resentment for that wrongdoing. As a leader, if you are not able to let go of the discontent, it will consume you and render you ineffective.

There it is Trybians. I hope you have enjoyed my summaries of this chapter of the book. I will be back with my final thoughts on leadership.


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