Category Archives: Servant Leadership

From Vision to Reality, Part II: Servant Leadership

.

I am black and beautiful….” Song of Solomon, 1:5, NRSV.

On the eve of celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, you will see various articles about his dreams and his leadership. First let’s reflect on his dream.

Who could forget the August, 1963 “I have a Dream” speech given by King at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC? Or the many marches that he and others led to capture such a dream. Can you hear freedom ring? Let’s listen.

“….When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

A recent poll (January 5-10, 2011) conducted by the Associated Press and GFK (AP-GFK) Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications revealed that 77% of Americans feel that as a country we have gone far in realizing King’s dream.

Yes, dreams are needed, but actions are more important. This reminds me of the Japanese proverb that reads: “vision without action is simply a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” That’s what I want to highlight today. King was a leader, but not just any leader. He was a servant leader, a transforming leader. He was the kind of leader that we thirst for today; a leader to transform our minds and hearts; a leader to transform our country and to transform our world. King foresaw his legacy and delivered a message from the heart that was heard by many at his funeral. Here’s a portion of it.

“If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long…. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize-that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards-that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.

“I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like somebody to say that Martin Luther King, Jr. tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.

“Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness….

King is one of my heroes. It was his vision and his leadership that made it possible for me to realize that my potential, my dreams could be a reality. A far cried from the reality that my parents and grandparents realized.

Now I want to leave you with a post that I penned on January 16, 2009, the weekend prior to the inauguration of Barack Obama, our first Black president of these United States.

I am black and beautiful. Not hard to say or believe now, but there was a time when I and many African-Americans wishfully wondered about such a statement: “I am black and beautiful. Yet today we have reason to celebrate; a reason to be proud of our skin color. For if it was not for Martin Luther King and the many civil rights leaders and brave souls of the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, January 20, 2009 would not be a reality today.

On Monday, January 19, 2009, the nation will celebrate and honor the work of Martin Luther King—the “Drum Major for Justice.” – “The Dreamer” – whose dream is becoming reality within the same generation, as the world witnesses Barack Obama take oath to be President of these United States. We go from “I have a Dream” to “Yes We Can.”

From Martin Luther King to Barack Obama and to all the community organizers, civil rights leaders and the faithful in between, we salute you. We praise you. We honor you and yes, we thank you. We thank you for your sacrifices; the sacrifices that have given this country an opportunity to live up to its creed; to show the world that America is truly a nation that believes all men and women are created equal.

Like This!
4
Posted in Reflections, Servant Leadership | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

1 Year Anniversary

Today marks 1 year since I have started this blog. This blog has taken a different direction than I anticipated. In my January 8, 2009 blog, I stated that I wanted to bring “New Thoughts about Leadership.” I hope I have done that for you. I hope I have opened eyes in a new way. What surprised me, however, is that my new thoughts on leadership focused on my own journey with God; a journey of faith exploration and spiritual leadership. As a result of this 1 year journey, I have decided to start a new blog entitled “Faithscape” to further explore my faith journey, without confusing those seeking information on leadership (via Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) to find something entirely different.

However, to my faithful readers/followers, you can still follow me on “Upward Edge” and on my new blog site “Faithscape” to see how one’s faith journey is intertwined to servant leadership and the transformation of lives. You can find my new blog at www.faithscape.net or going to my favorite links to your bottom right.

I will continue “Upward Edge” with its focus on leadership principles and today’s business leadership concepts and less about my personal spiritual journey. However, the bottom line, I want to teach, I want to inspire and lead people to fulfill their leadership passions whether it is in their faith community or in their secular organizations. My wish, my hope today as it was in 2009 “is to re-create, to bring new thoughts to old sayings and beliefs; to write about leadership, in particular, “transforming servant” leadership in a new and different way” (Upward Edge, January 8, 2009).

Like This!
0
Posted in Leadership, Reflections, Servant Leadership | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

God Gives The Assignment

I am currently reading Henry & Richard Blackaby’s book entitled “Spiritual Leadership.” The subheading “God Gives the Assignment” touched my heart deeply. In this section, Henry and Richard Blackaby write that people “will not become spiritual leaders unless God calls them to this role and equips them for it….Spiritual leadership…is not a role for which one applies….Rather, it is assigned by God” (p.46).

They later write that “people may apply for various leadership positions, but God is the one who ultimately determines with leadership roles they will have” (p.55).

How many leadership roles have you applied for in your lifetime. I know; you didn’t get that dream job. The one you were sure that God wanted you to have. Or you did get “your dream job” but somehow it was not the right fit or maybe it was, but just for a season. God has that special assignment for you. Faithfully, I wait for the next assignment that God has for me.  Let’s pray.
=====================================================
God, I know there’s something else. My heart aches for such an assignment. I know your ways are not our ways. Help me to be patient, to have a willingness to learn, to build character, to gain the confidence and above all else, to be willing to take on the next assignment, large or small, in ways that touch hearts and minds to do your will on this earth. Amen.

Like This!
4
Posted in Coaching/Mentoring, Leadership, Servant Leadership | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Random Thoughts: To Soar Like an Eagle

You need to believe that all your challenges are gifts from God. An opportunity to grow; to soar like an eagle; to be the leader that you know that you are; to be the leader God has called you to be.

Your decisions determine your destiny. Great success requires sacrifices. Don’t run from challenges. Challenges are God’s gifts for you to grow; to soar like an eagle.

Your outlook and circumstances will change when you do what is right; not what is easy. You need to make things happen instead waiting for favorable conditions to make things happen. Have faith in yourself. Be confident like the mighty soaring eagle.

Like This!
0
Posted in Leadership, Reflections, Servant Leadership | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Never Too Late

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
John 6:27 NIV

Doing God’s work is not easy. In fact, many are not sure that the work they are doing is the work God has called them to do. If what you do builds people up and motivates others to do good, you can trust that you are doing God’s will — even when God is silent.

When God is silent, you must persevere. I say to you be attentive, be hopeful. Listen with your spiritual ear and observe with your spiritual eyes. Trust your intuition and know that in due season your work will be acknowledged and confirmed by God himself.

Many great leaders, both spiritual and secular, are often not called to act or realize their dreams until late in life. A few come to mind: Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Nelson Mandela, Madeline Albright, Grandma Moses. I am sure you can name a few more. In fact, consider the oaks in the accompanying photograph. How many years did it takes for them to become mighty oaks?

What nourishments have you been called to create? Do you believe it is of God; if so, what is holding you back?,” In her book The Path, Laurie Beth Jones talks about “pitfalls and potholes” that have kept people for realizing their dreams. What are your pitfalls and potholes: feelings of inadequacy, accusations of others, small mindedness, fear, impatience, apathy or just old fashion procrastination and distractions?

Search the great minds of others and learned how they overcame their “pitfalls and potholes” to live out their dreams and accomplish their life missions.

We would love to hear about your dreams; better yet, we would love to hear how you overcame the “pitfalls and potholes” in life to make your dream, your life mission or God’s will for your life become a reality.

Like This!
0
Posted in Leadership, Servant Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment