I was recently reminded of an experience with an executive of a large organization who was faced with a challenging decision – a decision that eventually cost the organization a lot of money.
This post is part of the series – What Ever Happened to Personal Responsibility?
Would You Return to Your Organization?
If You’re Not Growing, You’re Dying…Really?
Leaders are the Most Creative People on the Planet
Great Leaders Serve
Is Fear Taking Over?
During discussions about the decision the executive made this revealing off-the-cuff statement – My goal is to survive a presidency.
These few words uttered in a moment of vulnerability informed the entire group that he was most interested in self-preservation.
A high price to pay
In self-preservation mode it’s difficult, if not impossible, to serve others. In self-preservation mode your greatest assets become your greatest threats. And in self-preservation mode we make irrational decisions which have long-lasting consequences.
This executive was cautioned – a decision to follow the majority opinion in this particular instance would adversely affect the growth the organization was experiencing.
It did. In fact, this one decision cost the organization nearly $2 million in lost revenue.
Great leaders don’t make decisions like most people – self-preservation doesn’t interest them. Great leaders have already decided to serve.
Are you going to serve or be served today?
A rare breed
Serving is rarely the first thing that comes to mind when you think of great leadership. Most list vision, passion, systems, goals, success, authenticity, and achievements as components of leadership long before considering service.
It’s true – great leaders serve.
Most people work hard to fit in. Leaders find mediocrity boring – even repulsive.
Most people are afraid. Leaders are courageous.
Most people aren’t curious. Leaders believe that everything is an experiment.
Most people are not intentionally growing. Leaders grow on purpose.
Most people don’t really like change. Leaders understand that change is at the very core of leadership.
Most people neglect the future. Leaders have huge, daunting, compelling vision.
Most people are consumed by their personal agenda. Leaders serve.
Your life and work are far too important to approach them like most people. In short, leaders aren’t most people.
So roll up your sleeves. Lose the alter ego. And serve somebody. Because you aren’t most people! You are a leader that serves.
Question: How has a leader served you or your team? How did their servant leadership impact you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.