I am incredibly humbled and grateful to name Ken Blanchard as a friend. Ken talks about being a college professor and assuming he was there to teach students!
I was periodically in trouble during my ten-year experience as a college professor. What drove the faculty crazy, more than anything, was that at the beginning of every course I gave students the final exam. When the faculty found out about that, they asked, “What are you doing?”
I said, “I thought we were supposed to teach these students.”
The faculty said, “You are, but don’t give them the final exam ahead of time!”
I said, “Not only will I give them the final exam ahead of time, what do you think I’ll do throughout the semester? I’ll teach them the answers so that when they get to the final exam, they’ll get ‘A’s.” You see, life is all about getting ‘A’s—not some stupid normal distribution curve.
Why did I do that? Because I thought my role as a teacher was to be a servant leader and help my students develop and succeed. There are two aspects of servant leadership. The first is vision and direction—making sure everyone knows the final exam ahead of time. This is the leadership aspect of servant leadership and is the responsibility of the hierarchal leader, whether a teacher, a manager, parent, or volunteer ministry leader.
Once people have a picture of where you want to take them, the leadership emphasis switches to the second aspect of leadership—implementation—teaching everyone the answers so they can live according to the vision and accomplish the agreed-upon goals. When that occurs, the traditional pyramidal hierarchy must be turned upside down. In this scenario, the leaders serve and are responsible to the needs of their people, training and developing them to know the answers so they can pass the final exam, get an ‘A,’ and soar like eagles.