It's true, I think. Servant leadership can be a nebulous concept and sound fluffy. Here's a quick attempt to put some teeth to it:
The classic story in the gospels told about Jesus that exemplifies his life as a servant leader, comes from the gospel of John, in chapter 13. It's where he takes the initiative to wash the feet of his disciples, a humiliating act that only servants or slaves would perform. There's no slave present, and typically the lowest person on the social status ladder would be obligated to wash the feet of the other guests. Even though he's clearly in charge as a respected rabbi, Jesus shocks the dinner party and does the unthinkable. Here's what he says as he wraps up:
"I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him."
That's what servant leadership looks like. It's those moments when you're presented with a difficult choice, and although everything inside says, "I shouldn't have to do that!" (I have a college degree! I was the head of my sorority! This is an unpaid internship!), you do it anyways.
I'm sure Jesus could have easily gotten away with not washing the feet. But what a powerful example he made. True leaders who influence towards the greater good don't hide behind their positions. They don't operate from ego or power or coercion. They anticipate needs of others. They raise their hands on Friday afternoons to complete the weekend project. They bring in coffee for their teammates. They run to make copies. They ask what else they can do to help.
True servant leadership always pushes past the "Why should I?" feeling and into the space that challenges the ego of others. And, true servant leadership comes from a servant heart- not from a strategy to be more influential but from a heart like Jesus'. A servant leader has the innate character to serve others.
Where in your life do you need to raise your hand and go first?