December 15, 2017
For years, I’ve had an old fire hat in my office. Some wonder if a member of my family served on the thin red line. Nope. It’s a constant reminder to me that the ultimate measure of leadership is the degree to which those I have the privilege to lead would follow me into a burning building. Fealty like that cannot be demanded from, beaten into, bought from, or scared out of someone. It must be earned, day in and day out, by the simple act of putting the needs of others before our own. To earn the unconditional loyalty of others requires that we focus on making them really really big and ourselves really really small.
And that’s the point for the week.
It’s an invitation to lead…by putting others first.
It’s about service to others.
The paradox of the servant leader is this: that in subordinating ourselves to the needs of others we find great strength. Serving others demands conviction. It calls for faith. It requires humility, honesty, compassion and commitment. These are not soft skills. These are the hallmarks of true character.
In a Robert Frost poem, Servant Leadership is the road less traveled.
It is far easier to beat a team into submission. It takes no particular talent to instill fear into another human being. It requires no charisma to threaten people. These are the hallmarks of the weak. At the first, best opportunity people will flee these awful oppressors for their own physical, economic and psychological safety.
But those truly committed to the service of others create bonds that are not easily broken and that can last a lifetime. Bonds, built on trust that can withstand almost anything, and that will propel an organization forward with speed and force to heights of extraordinary altitude.
So, be the one out for a walk all alone. Or be the one running with a team of people following you. It’s a choice.
Choose to serve.
If you like the blog, you’ll love the book. To purchase a copy of Phillip’s book, The Not So Subtle Art of Caring: Letters on Leadership, from John Hunt Publishing, London, please follow this LINK. “Letters” is based on 85 story-backed lessons Phillip used while leading actual teams to accomplish extraordinary things. It is an outstanding resource for those who wish to commit to becoming the sort of leader that people WANT to follow.
To learn more about Phillip, please click HERE.