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The Unsung Heroes
26. July 2018 at 21:15
Who are the unsung heroes of our generation? They are those who respond to the call of servant leadership. Silent yet inspiring, they are the game changers of today.
In a ramshackle farmhouse, beyond the winding dirt road and past the rickety fence was Manuela, the three – legged dog. She could walk you through the land filled with fresh spring flowers in bloom, a tended vegetable garden where you can see two policemen manning the fence and towards her owner, nonetheless the President of Uruguay.

Uruguay is a humble country off the coast of South America where verdant interiors could be seen and President Jose Mujica is as ordinary a person as anyone could be. He was not some hot shot strolling down the street, drinking champagne while his citizens struggled to have water drip down their mouths. He was not acquiring bags of rice just to hoard in his home but he tilled the lands outside his house and sold the flowers in his garden. He lived in such a way that 90% of his salary was donated to his people, he would enter his office in a polo shirt, pants and sandals, his annual personal wealth declaration was the value of his 1987 Volkswagen Beetle, and he would not veto bills that would help his country prosper. He doesn’t need a fancy Bentley or the presidential palace, because he doesn’t care about having an extravagant appearance. His people are what matters and what matters are his people.

Jose Mujica used his leadership as a means to help others, instead of as a way to gain personal power. His kind of leadership is something not taught, it is innate and cultured due to his love for service. His kind of leadership is servant leadership.

Perhaps many would ask if that is all servant leadership has to it. To expound on it, sit down and imagine this scenario. Imagine that you have just arrived whether in the school grounds or at your workplace. Your leader opens the doors of the institution for you, dusts off the dirt on your shoes, turns on the air conditioner and fluffs your seat for you – basically making you feel comfortable. In almost any other term, you have a servant in front of you. A servant who you call a leader. And yet this is not the definition of servant leadership.

The leader first and the servant first are part of a great abysmal spectrum, one barks out the order while the other does the order and to be a servant leader you have to make both ends meet half way. The servant leader is a primus inter pares or the ‘first among equals’. He or she sees that those he leads are peers to teach and learn from while acknowledging the fact that being a leader alone does not make him the best among the rest. The servant leader also uses his power honestly by putting the needs of other people first whether physical or emotional and empathizes with them. Finally the servant leader develops other leaders to take the helm. In essential, to lead is a choice between self – serving or serving and it all boils down to this – servant leaders in any organization will choose to serve from a natural feeling to a conscious choice.

The call of servant leadership is a horn blown out into the wind whenever, wherever. To respond is to help out 7 billion people and offer inspiration to the 1.8 billion adolescents scattered around the globe. It is imperative however to remember that servant leadership is not exclusive to bloodline or your Intelligence quotient level, it is a seed planted in everyone and each can rise up to the occasion to let the seed sprout. You may not notice it but you are actually applying this concept in real life like helping a classmate do his assigned task in a group project while keeping up with the overall output of the group or if you are a company CEO you would allocate employee benefits based on the needs of the individual and not on the long term interests of your company.

Servant leaders are everywhere. They are the unsung heroes from our generation, those not put in the midst of ballads. There is Jose Mujica leading from his farm house, Efren Peñaflorida who takes quality education to the streets through his pushcart and there would be you and me standing side by side, leading the way while serving right! In a world where Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela were stories of the past, the youth should take a proactive stand to become servant leaders simply because they are the future of our world and wherever they go, their leadership skills would be called for.
Cite This Article As: Francine Beatriz Pradez. "The Unsung Heroes." International Youth Journal, 26. July 2018.

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