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Let the Leader be Like a Servant

As John Maxwell states in his book, The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, "Everything rises and falls on leadership."  So if we want to have better families, companies and governments, it stands to reason that what we really need is better leadership.

Full Media has always invested time and resources into helping our Team members become better leaders, and as we grow we intend to increase those efforts exponentially.  But what does that mean?  After all, we are looking to grow leaders, not create bosses.

So what does real leadership look like?

I believe the true definition of leadership can be found in Luke 22:25-26:

"Jesus said to them, 'The kings of the nations show their power to the people.  Those who have power over the people are given names of honor.  But you will not be like that.  Let the greatest among you be as the least.  Let the leader be as the one who cares for others.'”

  • Leadership is not about others serving you.  It is about you serving others.
  • Leaders spend their time looking for solutions, while others spend their time complaining about the problem.
  • Leadership is about taking responsibility, not making excuses.
  • Leadership is about taking responsibility, not about taking credit.
  • A good leader takes a little more than his/her share of the blame and a little less than his/her share of the credit. - Arnold Glasow
  • When times are good, the leader is the last one to get a pay raise.
  • When times are bad, the leader is the first one to take a pay cut.
  • When the going gets tough, leaders double down their commitment and look for ways to make things better for everyone else, usually through even greater self-sacrifice.  Conversely when the going gets tough, others put an even greater focus on protecting their own self-interests, including their own comfort level, reputation, status, possessions and “exit strategy” and often do end up looking for a way to jump ship as soon as things get “too hard.”
  • A leader truly finds their purpose and satisfaction in seeing other people succeed, while others may talk a good game about a team-focus but in the end are most concerned about what’s in it for them.  These people will usually resent the success of others if they feel it outshines them personally. 
  • If the Team succeeds because of their efforts, a leader doesn't need the credit. Others resent the Team's success if they don’t get the credit (recognition, raise, job title, etc.) they think they deserve.
  • A leader is best when people barely know he/she exists, when his/her work is done, his/her aim fulfilled, they will say: “We did it ourselves.” - Lao Tzu
  • Leadership is all about other people.

In his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces the concept of a Level 5 Leader.  Collins explains that Level 5 Leaders are a combination of sincere personal humility and intense professional will.  They channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company.  Its not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest, indeed, they are incredibly ambitious – but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.

You don’t have to have a title to be a leader.  Leadership is about solving problems, influencing others and serving them…not about being in charge, your position or your title within the organization.  If we would be a leader, lets begin today regardless of where we are.