The Servant Leader’s Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all of the staff Sat around hoping, for a leader on their behalf. Tired of the power model still in the air, They hoped a servant leader soon would be there...

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All I want for Christmas is Servant Leadership
All I want for Christmas is Servant Leadership

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all of the staff
Sat around hoping a leader would come, on their behalf.
Tired of the power model still in the air,
They hoped a servant leader, soon would be there.

There had been no focus on long-term success,
And Short-term drivers too long caused distress.
While some struggled for a solution, others had fled,
We needed a change before going in the red.

Then amongst the board there arose such a clatter,
“Ego-based leaders” they said, “no longer matter.”
“We’ve ousted the selfish, greedy narcissists,
Replaced them with servant leaders, here to assist.”

Ego’s torn, pride drowned, the power leaders walked out,
Their golden parachutes and bonuses now in doubt.
Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
Not whom we expected, but one we all held dear.

One who was humble, his concerns were sincere,
We knew right then, our servant leader was here.
His demeanor was calm, though his message strong:
“We’ve got much that’s broken, so the road will be long.”

“Now finance, accounting and back-office teams,
we’ll focus on the future, sustainability our theme.
As for the front-office, say to our customers,
we’re focused on success, for all our stake holders.”

He asked for concerns from the group all around,
listening for hours, until no more fears were found.
He sought out solutions, volunteers and experts,
“I’ve not all the answers, and count on your efforts”

As the night wore on, we grew less tired,
As the future looked brighter, we grew more inspired.
We were no longer feeding egos, pride and greed,
But building something far greater indeed.

New leaders were appointed, for now at least,
Many volunteered to fill gaps by those now released.
But the message was clear for all to observe:
If you want to lead here, you had first to serve.

“Leaders won’t focus on fame, or their name in lights
they will have busy days, large loads and long nights.
“They’ll focus instead on all our stake holders,
putting other names in lights and magazine covers.”

The message hit home clearly, as we all knew,
By serving others, we’d increase revenue.
Leaders would focus on staff, who’d impress our customers,
And with happy customers, we’d please investors.

Serving to lead, the paradox for success,
That Christmas Eve our Servant leader did impress.
Inspired we left, with challenges ahead,
A long road yes, but we’d be servant-led

My head spun with excitement, as I called my wife.
She asked “What’d that boss do now, give you more strife?”
I answered “We’ve a new boss and one we deserve.
We finally got it – to lead means to serve.”[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

10 thoughts on “The Servant Leader’s Night Before Christmas”

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  3. An excellent synopsis portraying the essential difference between servant leadership and other leadership styles. You ask, “What is the essential difference?” I think Benjamin Lichtenwalner has captured the difference by portraying the leader’s focus on everyone else (employee, customer, shareholder) and the general welfare of the organization/business. Tough for us human beings to do, but this holiday season reminds us of the best example we have, Jesus Christ. – Benjamin Lichtenwalner, thank you for the reminder.


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