As the leader goes…so goes the culture.
As I have said before, as leaders, we must be highly attune to culture.
Leaders are creators, curators, communicators, and collaborators of the team or organizational culture.
One of the most significant threats to the mission or vision of a team or organization is the threats to the culture that comes from inside the team or organization…from us.
It weakens a team and weakens an organizations culture when we have to protect ourselves from those inside of it.
Simon Sinek takes aim at this very issue in his book “Leaders Eat Last.”
Intimidation, humiliation, isolation, feeling dumb, feeling useless and rejection are all stresses we try to avoid inside the organization. But the danger inside is controllable and it should be the goal of leadership to set a culture free from danger from each other.
We become weak when we spend time, thought, energy, and effort on protecting ourselves….from ourselves…those in our team or organization.
When the people have to manage dangers from inside the organization, the organization itself becomes less able to face the dangers from outside.
Jesus faced this very situation within his team.
Luke 9 recounts how a dispute arose among the disciples about who was the greatest.
Jesus quickly protects the culture of team and communicates the culture He is trying to build by explaining, “For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”
Matthew 20:20-28 provides another example of Jesus protecting his team from themselves.
Two members of team were attempting to put themselves ahead of the others on the team.
Jesus, quick to protect the team from itself, he communicates and creates the culture He is desiring.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28
Both examples demonstrate that Jesus is building a servant leadership culture and part of the culture is protecting itself from those within it.
Simon Sinek calls this creating a Circle of Safety.
By creating a Circle of Safety around the people in the organization, leadership reduces the threats people feel inside the group, which frees the them up to focus more time and energy to protect the organization from the constant dangers outside and seize the big opportunities.
Without a Circle of Safety, people are forced to spend time protecting themselves from each other.
Jesus loved those in His circle. He developed, mentored, taught, and discipled those in His circle. His circle faced it’s biggest challenge from within, when Judas betrayed him and the rest of the team.
If we are to build servant-minded and other-focused ministries and teams, they must be able to put all their time, energy and effort into serving others and not protecting themselves from other on the team or in the organization.
That loss of energy and effort is a loss to mission and the vision.
A poor leaders creates a culture where people do what is right for them.
A servant leaders creates a culture where people do the right thing.
Doing the right thing means protecting those on the inside from each other so that they can carry on the work of serving the mission, the vision…and others.
Leaders protect their team from themselves.