one life blog

Servant-leadership 101

“For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve.”  –Mark 10:45

A zillion books and articles have been written on leadership, and I’ve even read a few of them. Perhaps my favorite is Jim Collins’ “Good to Great,” because in just three words the author captures what should be the goal of any organization worth its salt. That aside, over time I have come to believe that leadership isn’t really all that complicated.

At its foundation, leadership must be about integrity. A leader in whom others don’t really believe will never achieve anything more than positional power, which is encapsulated in a title, rather than being vested in vision.

Leadership must also be about service – something on which we have focused at One Life in our recent leadership summits. Even our Savior was challenged in conveying the concept of servant-leadership to His disciples, who almost right up to the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth argued about who would be the greatest among them (Luke 22:24).

For the longest time, they didn’t get it. And to this day, many struggle to understand true servant-leadership. Consider what the consummate showman P.T. Barnum once said – “Money is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.”

Most certainly, we want to make money at One Life. It puts food on our families’ tables and generally has a nexus with our standard of living. In that respect, money is our servant – a means to an end, if you will.  But to achieve true happiness in our work and, indeed, in our lives, money can’t be our master.

That’s why I truly enjoy being a part of the One Life family. We work hard to achieve a certain quality of life, but we also offer a valuable product to those we seek to serve. It’s a product that can provide our customers with a peace of mind and a sense of security. And so long as we deliver that product with a servant’s heart, One Life will continue to prosper.

The greatest display of humility in civilization’s history was Jesus washing his disciples’ feet in the Upper Room. Philosophically speaking, we must likewise have the mindset of “feet-washers” in our business, in our community, and most especially in our churches.

Of one thing I am absolutely certain – if we are successful in building that culture at One Life, then we will do better than “Good to Great.” We’ll achieve “Great to Grand.”

Scotty Elliott
President & CEO
One Life America