It is one thing to hold the position of a leader; but it is another thing to walk in the role of a servant.  It is possible to hold the position of a leader, but not walk in the role of a servant.  These leaders carry the office but not the obligations

This is tragic because the greatest leaders that history has witnessed all defined leadership as serving, demonstrated that leadership was all about serving, and delighted in serving.  If being a servant was their mindset and method, it should be our model.

So… what exactly is leadership?  This is the most appropriate question for any discussion of real leadership.  And, this is a vitally important question because your definition of leadership determines how you will lead.  If you tell me what you think leadership is, I’ll tell you what kind of a leader you are and how you will lead.

How you lead is so important because how you lead determines the effectiveness of your leadershipMy definition of leadership is so important because my definition of leadership determines how I lead, which in turn determines the effectiveness of my leadership.  There’s a Chinese proverb about leadership that says, “He who thinks he leads with nobody following is merely taking a walk”.  Some leaders aren’t effective because of a flawed leadership style flowing from an unhealthy sense of leadership itself.  My effectiveness as a leader is ultimately determined by my behaviours as a leader, which are determined by my definition of leadership.  How you define leadership matters because it guides our actions as a leader, and how we lead determines if people actually follow us or not.reaching

True leadership requires a degree of selflessness.  It requires us to put the mission and cause, and those we lead ahead of ourselves.  When we think of selfless leaders, some historical giants come to mind:  Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln; Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi… the list goes on.  Whether we call it selfless leadership, or servant leadership, the concept is not new.  Most spiritual and ethical traditions extol the virtue of selflessness and the need to lead for the benefit of others.  History is full of stories of selfless leaders who did the right thing simply because it was the right thing to do.  They weren’t seeking personal gain or reward.  In fact, these real leaders understood that their actions would ultimately cost them dearly.

Great leaders demonstrate some degree of selflessness.  Leadership is dependent on one’s ability to gain followers, so leaders must give us a reason to follow them.  Most of us follow someone who is a servant.

And this opens up incredible leadership opportunities for you and I.  Anyone can become a selfless leader.  Selfless leadership requires hard work, patience, sacrifice, and most of all love.  Real leadership flows as we love what we do, love the people we serve, and love the cause we are inspired by.

 

Serving Statements…   

Martin Luther King Jr.:  “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve…  You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

Jesus Christ:  “Rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave.”

Unknown:  “Service is nothing but love in work clothes.”

Alan Loy McGinnis:  There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being – to help someone succeed.”

George Bush, Sr.:  “From now on, any definition of success must include serving others.”

Abe Brown:  “The measure of a person’s greatness is not how many people serve her, but how many people she serves.  My heart of service as a leader attracts the best in my people…”

Thus, it is critical that organizations work towards fostering a healthy culture of service, and developing real leaders.  The model below is the critical path for nurturing real leadership.  This leadership path guides us as we sow the seeds which will eventually empower us to reap the culture we all long for:real leadership model

  • Imparting Our Culture – The environment, values, and identity that build healthy organizations that thrive,
  • Teaching Our Craft – Creating a model for developing skills and teaching key systems and processes,
  • Coaching Our People – One-on-one coaching which nurtures leadership development, and fosters organizational health.  Providing two-way feedback is the most cost-effective strategy for improving performance and instilling satisfaction.

If you or your organization believe that one of your next steps is an effective leadership development program, which will impact your culture, improve your craft, and elevate your capacity to coach and engage your team, please reach out to Momentum Coaching right here:  abe@momentumcoaching.ca