Of all the leadership traits that have been identified, assessed, developed, and written about, I’d like to focus on one that is at the top of my list – Leaders Must Serve Others. Think of Gandhi and MLK.
This “attitude for service” is most often learned and demonstrated before we get our first ‘management’ job. It starts with how we lead ourselves as individual contributors and team members.
It’s amazing how influential our leadership style can be to others – our coworkers, suppliers, clients, community, family, etc. People see the inherent goodness in it and realize that it really is worthy of emulating. When you are on the receiving end of someone else’s act of service, it awakens your spirit and warms your heart. We then have this urge to pay-it-forward because the rewarding feelings from being on the giving-end are equally wonderful…we can see it in the face of the person who just gave to us. And who doesn’t want to have that?
Plato said: “He who is not a good servant will not be a good master.”
This lesson is stressed in my coaching program. Effective leaders are born from having been good followers. They are observant, they learn from their leaders, and they take the best of themselves and what they have learned from others and incorporate that into their style of leadership.
In a leadership book called Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski, which was gifted to me by a friend and former coworker, Ernesto Aguero, the author agrees that leadership is about serving others and that leadership is about a state of being, not doing. Jaworski goes further by defining leadership as about learning how to shape the future, a choice to allow life to unfold through us, and the importance of seeing the world as made up of relationships. When we are wholly accepting of each other, we see everyone’s value and potential, we focus on their positives not their negatives, you provide an opening through which others can bring forward their very best self without reservation. We all should focus on this because often this part of leadership is the most rewarding.
If this is an area that you want to better develop, let’s talk.