Spiritual leadership does not come easy. The positions of priest(ess), teacher and mentor are gained through a combination of calling and very hard work. The taking on of spiritual leadership is sometimes involuntary. Even if spiritual leadership is unexpected, the continuing of the leadership requires work in the form of blood, sweat and tears. The dichotomy between charge of leadership and the ever present human factor is the spiritual leader's challenge.
The range and depth of duties of spiritual leadership can vary. On one end of the spectrum are those who are part time leaders, stepping in when called and moving away after their job is done. On the other end of the spectrum are those who dedicate their lives to spiritual leadership, living most every moment in expression of their place. Service to others is a function of the role that leadership plays in the person's life.
Sometimes people know their place in this spectrum of service. The expectation of service is a formal part of the leader's development. Other times a spiritual leader has service called unto them. Their expression of service cannot be defined or cataloged. What must be done is done. In practice, the level of service to others is based on the foundation of training/calling and then increased by divine direction. Sometimes the spiritual leader will be called to great service. Other times the divine will ask for others to serve the spiritual leader.
People are asked to serve a spiritual leader. A position can demand and receive respect from others. This form of deferment, called positional respect, is rooted in belief of the spiritual structure and heritage. While powerful in its wide application, affecting as many people who hold a place of spiritual leadership, positional respect ends where the duties of position end.
The spiritual leader determines what respect and service they will receive beyond their mantle of position. Will they be loved or feared? Will people react to them with disdain or admiration? These expressions stand outside of position. The key to the reactions of others is the degree that a teacher matches their own service expectations, and then how much they exceed them.
We are all human. Nobody is expected to put their life completely on hold while being in leadership. Leaders can be angry, cuss, dance, lust, love and have their own moments of need. It can be said that a spiritual leader is not connected to their charges if these human qualities were not felt. The challenge is to live UP to the charges of the existing spiritual leadership while living DOWN to human pulls. Factoring in the human equation, a leader should be equal to the tasks of their spiritual position. Spiritual leaders are asked to rise to their positions even as their own human needs are given their due.
I've painted an ideal picture of spiritual leadership. In the picture I've presented, positions are given respect and then the spiritual leader determines how much respect is further given. The spiritual leader is served by their charges. The spiritual leaders further serve themselves by nurturing the human needs that stand outside whatever selfless expectations the spiritual leadership dictates. However, at the end of the day, the spiritual leader is judged by how they handled both themselves and the very important duties of their spiritual leadership.