“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
A leader’s model that they follow is important to what they accomplish. There has been much said about the importance of servant leadership. There is no doubt that leaders need to be servants to those they lead. The poorest leadership model is a self-serving leader who only keeps themselves in mind with every decision they make. Certainly, if every leader would leave the self-serving model to become a servant leader, they would influence so many more lives for the good.
However, Jesus reveals a higher leadership model that few ever attain. He says in the verse above, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends…” Jesus let His disciples know that He would much rather lead by a friend leadership model than He would only by a servant leadership model. It was not that Jesus was forsaking the servant leadership model, but He was adding to this model by being a friend leader.
You may be wondering at this point what is a friend leader. A friend leader is defined in the verse above when Jesus says, “…all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” In other words, a friend leader is very communicative with those they lead. They are clear as to where they are taking them, and they are hands-on in helping their followers to become leaders themselves. Actually, a friend leader simply reproduces themselves. Let me share with you a couple of thoughts that will help you in this area of being a friend leader.
First, the servant leadership model is not forsaken when you become a friend leader. A friend leader still serves those they lead. Being a friend leader doesn’t mean you stop serving, but it only means you are adding another level of leadership to help improve those you lead.
Second, a friend leader is communicative with those they lead. If there is one area where many leaders fail it is in the area of communicating with those they lead. Before you start criticizing your leader, let me defend them by saying that many times leaders fail to communicate because they are busy; however, every leader needs to understand the importance of communicating with those they lead. A friend leader recognizes the importance of communicating with their followers so they know what to do and where they are going. The greatest way to lose the trust of those you lead is by failing to communicate with them. Communication and accessibility are vital qualities of great leaders. Without these qualities, you will lose the trust and focus of those you lead.
Third, a friend leader’s goal is to reproduce themselves. The reason Jesus told the disciples everything was because He was training them to become leaders themselves. The greatest leader is one whose goal is to make every follower into a leader. A friend leader always trains people to take their place because they understand that they will not always be there. If you want to become a leader like Jesus, you will become a friend leader. A friend leader treats those they lead like friends and not subservients. A friend leader leads with the goal in mind to send them out to lead others to become leaders. Let me ask you; are you a friend leader?