Chapter OneUPSIDE-DOWN LEADERSHIP
Think for a minute about the best leader you've ever known personally.
What characteristics made her or him a great leader?
In the following organizational chart, who is responsible-and
who needs to be responsive?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of top-down
When Jesus spoke of establishing a kingdom on earth, his disciples
quibbled about what position each would hold within this
new kingdom. Consider the following story.
Read Luke 22:24-27
Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered
to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it
over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves
Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest
among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the
one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the
one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among
you as one who serves."
1. What surprising qualities does Jesus say the "greatest" will have
in his kingdom?
2. How does Jesus' leadership style contrast with the kings of the
Gentiles-and how does he make this crystal clear with his
3. Take a look at your own organization. In what ways are the
leaders like Jesus-or like the Gentile kings?
4. Was the leadership style of the best leaders you listed during
the Icebreaker discussion more like Jesus or like the Gentile
In order for any organization to run well, there must be centralized
decision making, directional focus, and great communication.
Leaders can accomplish this purpose in different ways. In
relating to their coworkers and subordinates, however, they can
choose to either serve them or to boss them around, using
power to get things done.
5. Discuss the pros and cons of servant leadership versus authoritarian
Imagine you're going to build a company. Not just any company,
but a company that would turn the organizational chart
we talked about at the beginning of this discussion upsidedown,
Imagine what might happen if the leaders focused on serving
those above them. If the subordinates owned and felt responsible
for the goals of their bosses. If the supervisors responded
by making it possible to get resources for their subordinates to
do the job .
6. Describe the type of theoretical company this would be, and
the effects on not only coworkers, but on all those coming into
contact with the company.
I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man.
Between him and every other person in the world there is no
possible term of comparison. Alexander, Charlemagne, and I
founded our empires, but on what did we rest the creation of
our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded his empire upon
love, and at this hour millions of men would die for him.
-Napoleon Bonaparte, French general and emperor
Why would an organization based on love (rather than on power,
monetary incentives, or prestige) hold people to a higher commitment
level and keep people involved longer?
Brainstorm ways to model servant leadership in your organization.