Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others? – Martin Luther King Jr
What are you doing for others?
That my friends is a very powerful question, and I am asking this question of you because whether you like it or not YOU are a leader.
Sure you might not be the CEO of the fortune 500 company, you may not be the A list blogger, you might not hold a formal leadership position of any kind, but you ARE a leader.
What type of leader do you want to be?
A dictator? A benevolent dictator? Autocratic? Participative? Paternalistic?Free-rein?
Or would you rather be a servant leader…..
Servant leadership involves the skills of listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualisation, foresight, stewardship, growth and building community.
In whose interests?
When we are making decisions related to our family, our work, our team, our club etc and we need to ask ourselves this question “in whose interests am I making this decision?”
If the honest answer is mine… then it is not servant leadership, and the decision is more likely related to your own need for power, or possessions, or to prove a point of some sort.
If the honest answer is theirs only…then it is not servant leadership, servant leadership is not about being a slave…. and serving only the interests of those around you. That would make you a floor mat to be walked all over.
If the honest answer is OURS… then it is likely that it is servant leadership.
But…how do you DO servant leadership?
Servant leadership means having your eyes, ears, heart and mind open to those around you. It means looking at what their needs are, and what the needs of the family/workplace/team/club etc are and finding a way to fill those needs.
Servant leaders are systems thinkers who are looking at the bigger picture and all of its components and using that vision to grow others. Servant leaders are good communicators, who put people first.
Servant leaders lead in order to serve others, and place an emphasis on trust, empathy and the ethical use of power, not on efforts to increase their own power for their own sake.
The concept of servant leadership has been around since time began with references related to it attributed to Lao-Tzu in the 500’s BC, to Chanakya in the 4th century BC, to Jesus, and to many recent authors like Stephen Covey and others.
Someone, somewhere is watching you.
Think of the all the circles you operate in, your family, your work, your social network, your sporting or community clubs. Someone, somewhere is watching you for clue as to how they should behave.
Are you going to set a leadership example that demonstrates selfishness, or will you accept Martin Luther Kings challenge to walk in the light of creative altruism and set an example that leadership is really about how you serve others?
So to close with the opening question…..what are you doing for others?