Introducing Christ-centred Servant Leadership to the Former Soviet Union

Twenty-five leaders from partner organisations across the former Soviet Union countries gathered for the first week of a people centred leadership development programme. They had travelled to the Ukraine from places as distant as Belarus and the furthest parts of Siberia.

Christ-centred servant leadership could not be more distant to that traditionally experienced in the Soviet Union. Its “Theory-X” style leadership was based on command, control and fear. This legacy remains today in the thinking and attitudes of those who were brought up and trained in its ways.

On the other hand, the servant leadership style modelled by Jesus is about understanding how individuals behave and respond in the organisation, embedding a strategy and approach which respects them as individuals and is focused on enabling them to be more fulfilled and so relate more effectively with their colleagues and the greater purpose of their organisation. As such it is focused on maximising the effectiveness of the individual, group and team, maintaining integrity in line with the organisation’s declared values.

The response to the training, which was delivered via translation, was initially somewhat bemused. Within three days, however, the group had begun to joyfully grasp its essence. One delegate commented that he “now had a vocabulary for a new way of leadership that he had never had before.”