I have always found that one of the greatest pleasures in life is to serve. Whether it is in a family, club, entity, profession or community, service brings its own rewards. People who demonstrate great leadership in service roles are rightly referred to as ‘servant leaders’.
Servant leaders do not crave the limelight. They try to deflect any achievements to the team, organisation, staff or club as a whole rather than focusing on themselves. At times, the roles they take on require them to be in the public light more than they would normally choose to be.
At times, the effects of this can be ‘personally positive’ where you get more credit than you feel you deserve. At times, it can be ‘personally negative’ where circumstances out of your control result in a lessening of your personal reputation.
When you live your life as a servant leader, you come across many different types of leaders, many of whom have a strong interest in the same group.
You often find inspiration and innovation in places you never expected. You are exposed to different leaders with different skill sets and different experiences. You are often inspired, challenged and get great rewards from working with a diverse group.
Despite the personal sacrifices and contributions, you normally leave having gained more through the experience than the time, energy and opportunity cost that you spent.
More often than not, you have a chance to influence positive outcomes for the group.
Sometimes, it is enormously challenging when you don’t feel you’re able to deliver the best-possible outcome for the group you set out to serve, or when situations in the external environment change.
Sometimes, you’re involved in circumstances where other people’s personal pursuit of the limelight, or focus on themselves or their other interests, gets in the way of you effectively contributing to the outcomes that you hope for.
At times, you commit to roles which, by their design, take away from your ability to publicly comment. At times, you feel empowered to work for the good of your group, and, at times, you feel like a pawn to someone else’s agenda.
My experience has been that, overall, servant leadership is positive. In most environments there are more people with a positive agenda than a negative one. Being able to harness the positives is important in communicating a future that resonates for all.
I have an enormous admiration for people who accept leadership positions for the right reasons. I have had the privilege of serving my community, my profession and other groups of interest over the last decade. I hope that the next chapter of my leadership journey will be as rewarding as the last.
We are all leaders in some ways in our daily lives, and I encourage you all to cherish and nourish your leadership abilities, opportunities and the impacts that come from your investment in leadership.
It’s been a great pleasure to serve, and I wish you all the best for the future.
Marcus Dripps, APAM
APA National President
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