To Get Ahead, Put Others First
The true leader serves. Serves people. Serves their best interests, and in so doing will not always be popular, may not always impress. But because true leaders are motivated by loving concern rather than a desire for personal glory, they are willing to pay the price – Eugene Habecker
When you think of servanthood, do you envision it as an activity performed by relatively low-skilled people at the bottom of the positional totem pole? If you do you have a wrong impression. Servanthood is not about position or skill! It is about attitude!
You can sense when a worker doesn’t want to help people, you can just as easily detect whether a leader has a servant’s heart. The truth of the matter is that the best leaders want to serve others and not themselves. What does it mean to embody servanthood? Here are five thoughts.
Puts Others Ahead of His Own Agenda
The first mark of servanthood is the ability to put others ahead of yourself and your personal desires. It is more than being willing to put your agenda on hold. It means intentionally being aware of your people’s needs, available to help them, and able to accept their desires as important.
Possesses the Confidence to Serve
The real heart of servanthood is security. Show me someone who thinks he is too important to serve, and I’ll show you someone who is insecure. How we treat others is really a reflection of how we think about ourselves. Poet Eric Hoffer states, The remarkable thing is that we really love our neighbor as ourselves; we do unto others as we do unto ourselves. We hate others when we hate ourselves. We tolerate others when we tolerate ourselves. We forgive others when we forgive ourselves. It is not love of self but hatred of self which is at the root of the troubles that afflict our world. The Law of Empowerment says that only secure leaders give power to others. Only secure leaders exhibit servanthood!
Initiates Service to Others
Just about anyone will serve if compelled to do so. Some will even serve in a crisis. You can really see the heart of someone who initiates service to others. Great leaders see the need, seize the opportunity, and serve without expecting anything in return.
Is Not Position Conscious
Servant leaders don’t focus on rank or position. Then Colonel Norman Schwarzkopf stepped into a mine field to rescue his men without thinking about rank or himself. He was exhibiting one person attempting to help another. What we must realize that being a leader actually gives us a greater sense of obligation to serve.
Serves Out of Love
Servanthood is not motivated by manipulation or self-promotion. It is fueled by love. In the end, the extent of your influence depends on the depth of your concern of others. That is why it is so important for leaders to be willing to serve.
Where is your heart when it comes to serving others? Do you desire to become a leader for the perks and benefits? Are you motivated by a desire to help others? If your attitude is to be served, you may be headed for trouble! I want to offer some advise from a 44 year veteran of non-profit leadership.
STOP lording over people and start LISTENING to people.
STOP role-playing for advancement and start RISKING for other’s benefit.
STOP seeking your own way and start SERVING others.
How can you improve your servanthood? Here are three things that will assist you in improving your serve.
PERFORM SMALL ACTS – when was the last time that you performed small acts of kindness for others? Start with those closest to you, family, children neighbors.
LEARN TO WALK SLOWLY THROUGH THE CROWD – when you are at a function with a number of colleagues, clients, or employees, take the time to really connect with people through conversation. Focus only upon the person in front of you. Learn their name if you are unsure. What are their wants, dreams and passions? Intentionally do something for each of them they would not suspect.
MOVE INTO ACTION – If an attitude to serve is missing – start serving.
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