If you are in the servant leader structure, the path of least resistance is servant leader behavior because structure demands behavior.
That does not mean much to you unless you understand what structure is. Don’t worry; structure is very practical once you learn more about it. So, let's talk about structure because it is a compelling principle in everyone's life.
Physical and mental structures are constantly demanding action from you. But, you seldom notice them. Everything in life follows a structure! And, what you have stored in your mind, especially what you value, creates the most influential structures in your life.
What you think about drives your actions and feelings! And leaders that believe they should focus primarily on results will miss the people component - relating.
“Structure Demands Behavior”
Since the principle of structure is very powerful, you might want to learn more about it. If so, please read Robert Fritz’s books to capture all of his excellent insights.
Also, please buy and read Servants Leading Servants - 15 Signs of a Real Servant Leader. It has a chapter to help you understand how structure works. You can also purchase the facilitator's version, which has about 50% more material.
Additionally, and a huge help is THP and the THP Charts that you find in GR8 Leaders. THP stands for THERE, HERE, and PATH. The entire THP process is covered in Course 1 - Value Right Results AND People.
How Does Structure Work?
The principle of structure is stated in this phrase.
Structure demands behavior
Structure creates the “path of least resistance.” That phrase is often used to mean…
“…the easy way out. But what we mean is that energy moves where it is easiest for it to go. Robert Fritz
It is easiest to understand structure when applied to real situations. For instance, consider one drop of rain that hits the top of a mountain. It has no choice about what will happen next because it will follow “the path of least resistance.” Assuming the mountaintop is very small, how many ways can that drop go down the mountain?
Some say, “Any number of ways.” But, actually, there is only one way it can go down. It will follow the path of least resistance. That drop of rain will flow in the direction where it is easiest to go.
Think of a time when you spilled water on a table. What happened? The water either puddled or flowed off the table. The tabletop's angle demanded the water's behavior to either stay or flow.
Or how about sitting in a rocking chair? At first, when you rock back, it is very easy, but then it becomes harder to keep going back, and it becomes easier to change directions and rock forward, right? When you start rocking forward, the reverse happens; you come to a point when going back is easier than going forward. The structure of the rocking chair demands this action.
The structure of a room creates a path of least resistance to how you enter that room. It is easiest to come in through a door rather than climb through a window. The structure of a car determines how you will interact with it. The steering wheel and pedals demand that you sit in or very close to the driver’s seat to drive. Your shoe demands that you put the right one on the right foot and the left one on the left foot; otherwise, it will be uncomfortable. Even how you sit in a chair is determined by how it is made.
More Energy Is Required to Fight Structures
Structure demands behavior and creates the path of least resistance. But, you could fight the structure. For example, you could get into a room by tunneling through the floor, breaking through a wall, or making a hole in the ceiling instead of using the door. It would be rare that you would do that because it takes more physical and mental energy.
It is easy to picture physical structures, but the more powerful ones are in your mind. If you were to break a hole in the wall of a room to enter, you most likely would need to ignore your values first. You probably do not value tearing up property to enter a room in a way other than through the door. That is a good illustration of the structure or power of thinking. So, when we use the word "structure," it most often speaks about what and how you think.
Where You Look...
Finally, this simple principle is critical to structure and the path of least resistance:
Where you look, you tend to go
That applies to servant leader behavior, your goals and wants, and even sitting in a chair. If you want to sit in a chair, it is easier to look at the chair and walk to it rather than look somewhere else.
The same is true when driving, riding a bicycle, or riding a horse. My wife tells me that horse riding instructors tell you that where you look changes your body position, influencing the horse and what you do as you ride. Looking at where you want to go helps you integrate where you are with where you want to be. That helps create the path of least resistance to get where you want to be.
You influence your current and future actions by having a clear end result in view.