I believe leaders can be anyone who takes action to make a change. By volunteering and serving in your community and giving back to the world, you can become a leader.
This kind of leadership is called “servant leadership.” A leader is someone with the power to influence others. Followers often view their relationship to a leader as “what can I do for them?”
However, servant leadership takes on a different mindset. This kind of leadership focuses on what the leader can do for others. When we make the decision to serve others, give back to the world or even just take the opportunity to be kind towards someone, we have the chance to influence others, and therefore, become leaders.
I believe servant leadership can be even more impactful than traditional leadership. It can be easy to believe that the only leaders with the ability to influence others are those in positions of power.
However, we influence those around us with our actions every day. Even the smallest actions can impact others. If we acknowledge the influence our actions could have in someone’s life and choose to act on it, we can start to see leadership as something we can do every day, and as a result, inspire others to do the same.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a leader who inspired people, black and white, to take a stand against discrimination and injustice during the civil rights movement. How was Martin Luther King Jr., who was not the most powerful or commanding person during the civil rights movement, able to move thousands of people to take action?
King was not the only great orator in 1963, and he definitely was not the only person who suffered at the hands of a pre-civil rights America. Yet it is his “I Have a Dream” speech that still inspires people today.
He did not give a speech on how he created a plan that would solve the nation’s problems, but on a vision for his country that he believed in so strongly it brought 250,000 people to Washington D.C to hear what he had to say. His focus was not on himself but on others and how everyone could work together.
I had the opportunity in 2016 to build bunk beds for families in poverty-stricken communities in the Dominican Republic with my youth group. I was able to see the pure joy on the families’ faces when they realized they no longer had to share a single bed between six to eight people, which is what is normal for these people.
The impact my youth group had in those communities did not end when we flew back home. Our actions inspired another group to continue what we started, and by the time we journeyed back to the Dominican Republic in 2018, over 150 more bunk beds had been built and installed in those homes.
When we serve because we are passionate about seeing change, it will fuel other’s to do the same. Servant leaders have the ability to impact the world, but more importantly the people within it.