Friday was an extraordinary day. In two hours I observed and experienced the fruits of successful leadership. It was two hours that all leaders strive to deliver. A session where you are informed, equipped, empowered and most of all inspired.
Opportunities like this are hard to come by. And I was fortunate to encounter this inspiring experience during the first couple of days of my current visit to the Wellspring Foundation in Rwanda where I serve as an educational consultant.
I did not expect to be impacted by this meeting going into it. The meeting was a time for the various departments of the Wellspring Foundation Team to report on their progress. With all honesty, I thought it was going to be an ordinary meeting where nothing really remarkable and noteworthy would be presented.
I was wholly mistaken and humbly apologize to my fellow colleagues. I should have known better.
As a leader who passionately believes in serving others before being served, I observed first hand what servant leadership is all about. As each person spoke the leadership attributes of what one would expect in servant leaders was enthusiastically emphasized and modelled.
Leadership expert John C. Maxwell would be delighted with these servant leaders as they all exemplified and shared through their reports six key attributes that his research points out in successful leaders. These leaders:
- See themselves first and foremost as adding value to others by serving them.
- Pursue love and service to others and not pursue power and prestige for themselves.
- Improve the welfare of people not their own wealth and status.
- See their colleagues as brothers and sisters who complement one another not as enemies and competitors.
- Motive is to meet needs and grow a cause not to remove or kill opposition.
- Actions are heart motivated and they expect nothing in return.
Each leader informed and inspired me, yet Gilbert was one leader with passion and vulnerability expressed his feelings regarding what the Wellspring Team was doing as a whole organization to empower and equip students, teachers, parents and school leaders.
Gilbert humbly and with tears welling, described how he is so appreciative that everyone on the Wellspring Team is one team. That they are all working together selflessly. That they mutually support one another and that they are not worried about obtaining individual credit. He was so thankful that the successes that are being achieved are because it is clearly a team effort.
Gilbert issued effusive praise for all of his colleagues from the support staff in the office, to the drivers who take the leaders out to schools, to the office management staff and to the Country Director. He personally thanked them and gave them credit for helping him to achieve success and above all to the success of the school communities they serve.
Gilbert was not the only leader who shared his praise for his colleagues. In fact all of them did in what has become a trademark of the Rwandan Wellspring Team. They encourage and affirm each other all the time by not only using their words, but they throw imaginary bouquet of flowers to each other to praise and celebrate one another. My arms were being raised a lot during the two hour meeting.
My colleagues in Rwanda definitely have a passionate cause. They share a mutual belief that there is no obstacle, roadblock or mountain that will prevent them from reaching, equipping and empowering students, parents and communities in Rwanda. Their task is a bold one but they are achieving success and are well on their way to achieving their mission of ensuring a bright future through the provision of quality education.
The Wellspring Rwanda Team touched me on Friday. They reinvigorated and strengthened my own resolve and calling to use my head, hands and heart to serve.
Thank you friends!