The Joy of Servant Leadership

Being a servant leader should be a joy.

You’ll encourage others to grow;
others may at times resent your efforts.

You’ll coach others towards better practices and healthier mindsets;
others may tear down with their every word.

You’ll lead others to take risks;
others may blame you when things fail.

You’ll cheer others through doubt and uncertainty;
others may actively undermine your message.

You’ll mentor others into mastery;
others may accuse you of not pulling your weight.

You’ll find and forge ideals worthy of being pursued;
others may scoff and murmur about “the real world.”

You’ll champion worthy causes and individuals;
others may actively campaign against you personally.

You’ll give of yourself;
others may only take for themselves.

Joy springs from the why behind our actions. In his book, “Drive” Dan Pink highlights purpose as being one of the key motivations behind our drive to act. The servant leader’s purpose must be powerful enough to drive her to endure the pain, even ignominy heaped upon her for hoping and working for change.

It seems right that a servant leader’s capacity to guard hope and work for change is directly proportional to the strength of her conviction for doing so. I am hard pressed to picture a normal person motivated by anything so banal as monetary compensation, catered lunches, monogrammed golf shirts, or impressive titles. Rather, a wealth of examples appear when I summon to mind even common men and women made mighty through the strength of their joyful resolve.

Being a servant leader should be a joy. If it isn’t, why do it?


Jason is a developer, Scrum Master, writer, teacher, coach, husband, father, and community leader out of Tulsa Oklahoma. He's been delivering software since 2007 and absolutely loves the values and principles of agility especially as given form by the Scrum framework.