It was never easy for a leader to lead the same way a servant to serve. This was the case for most of us, and now the same for the new Chief Justice Sereno.
A leader is one who leads a certain group of class or society. Most of the time, it is a question of why follow such leader? Who gave him or her the authority? Should a person in authority appointed by a leader whom we recognized be also recognized? What if I am not confident, in the same way trust and confidence is given by the appointing official to the appointee? How does a leader really become an effective one? Being a leader implies superiority. They are the elites of the society.
Meanwhile, a servant is one who serves a leader, voluntary or not. In most cases, (Filipino) people are not fond of admitting to be servants. We have been that for the past four centuries with the Spanish era. We believe in liberty and we even shed blood to achieve independence from any form of tyranny or oppression. We do not want to be dictated. We believe we are always better than the other. We often ask, “why him” or “why her?” Being a servant implies inferiority. They are the poor.
How about servant-leaders? This third and hybrid class is the hardest to assume of the three. They are people neither accepted nor rejected. Neither inferior nor superior. They are in-between, but never the average. Unlike the first two, a servant-leader is a choice. It is never a status born with a person and never by fate. It is tantamount to living and leading thru example.
In the well celebrated case of Justice Sereno, appointed as the first lady Chief Justice, it is a real challenge how to persuade senior Justices to follow her leadership. But this should not be the focal point of her acceptability for being a servant-leader is intended to the public, not to her peers. The Chief Justice owes her loyalty to the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines and not to any person. So she has to be strong, as people expect her to be. She speaks of change where many are thirsty of it. And the likewise thirsty author supports her leadership, with the hope of one day, he will be taking oath before the Supreme Court, whose dignity, confidence and respect have been restored – and to join as one of the selfless servant-leaders of the country.
Again, servant-leaders are neither born nor appointed. They are chosen.