Leadership that matters

There are many forms of leadership. Find out about various styles of leadership by listening to this podcast by Bruce Robinson, or read the transcript below.

Leadership that matters

I always think there are three sorts of leaders: the military leader (“do what I say because I tell you”), the charismatic leader (“follow me because I’m enthusiastic and I have vision”), but the third sort of leader is the servant leader. The servant leader cares about the people they’re leading – let me give you an example.

I learnt this when I was coaching at the university football club and I realised that the best way to coach wasn’t to shout as a “look at me, look at me” coach, but it was to encourage the players and help them to feel like they had decided. For example at grand final half time I might go round and say “Well, Tom, what do you think’s happening?” – “Well, I’m, you know, doing this and doing that.” “What do you think you should do now?” “Well I should go out and move to his left because he’s a left-footer” or something.

After one grand final which we’d won, one of the players said to me “Oh, we were so good, we would’ve won without you, coach! No disrespect but we’d have won without you!”

Here’s the thing- twenty years later, at a player reunion, that player came up to me, put a finger on my chest and said, “I’m onto you! All the other guys told me that you did the same thing for them. You’re more interested in them believing in themselves than you getting the credit.”

That servant leadership is an ancient concept which began, I think, when Jesus picked up a towel and washed the feet of his disciples. It’s a very powerful but hard to achieve form of leadership.


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