By Becki Lonnquist
Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. Proverbs 22:29
Over the weekend my husband and I decided to go shopping for new tennis shoes. I am not a huge fan of shopping, especially at stores that are commission-based, like shoe stores. When we got to the mall we started walking around from shoe store to shoe store, avoiding the stores that I knew were commissioned-based.
We weren’t really sure about any shoes we were finding. We finally went into the store I had been avoiding. Pretty quickly after entering, the store manager came over smiling. “Oh great,” I thought, “here comes the sales pitch.”
The store manager, who we later learned is named Nick, asked us if we needed help. At first I did the whole, “We’re just looking” bit, but then I thought to myself, “What if he could help us? What if he actually cares about helping us? I should have a little faith and trust.”
I let him know that we were looking for tennis shoes, first for my husband who has pain in his left foot and for myself who hasn’t had a new pair of tennis shoes in years. As soon as Nick heard about my husband’s foot pain he asked if he could help us and seemed genuine. When we said yes, he took so much extra care in measuring the feat, asking questions and had my husband try on at least 8 pairs of shoes, helping him put them on, take them off, tie them up, putting in special insoles and shoe and foot information as we walked around to find the perfect match.
He spent a lot more time on my husband, due to his foot pain. I got to observe. Watching Nick work this way reminded me so much of Jesus and his true servant leadership and desire to help people. Anyone who spent time with Nick, could tell that he really wanted to help people and was going to make sure were happy.
We started talking about work and Nick informed us that he was new to town and that he’d come originally to help the store temporarily after the store manager had quit, but shortly after he began this temporary position he got promoted instead and ask to lead the store. He had worked for the company for 10 years and said that he loved working with people and shoes. He told us this was his dream job and that even though others might not find it glamorous, he liked the work.
The pride Nick had for his work was impressive and inspiring and at this point even further reminded me of Jesus and his care for all of those around him and in displaying what servant leadership looks like. Nick was showing servant leadership in his workplace to those he sold shoes to and those who had given him a little faith.
How can you lead as a servant leader?
Consider these leadership actions
- Put others ahead of your own personal agendas
- Learn to walk slowly through the crowd and be aware of those around you
- Begin your day reflecting on the things you are thankful for
- Be aware of the needs of those around you and how you might help
- Perform small acts anonymously
- Learn about and work on displaying the Fruits of the Spirit