Want to Be a Great Leader? Start Serving!

If you want to be a great leader, start by being a great follower.

Some people want to lead before they learn to follow. Non-followers make terrible leaders. They are self-absorbed and don't deal very well with people in general.

Occasionally, folks will come to me and offer their services in some leadership capacity. My usual response is "You can start your leadership journey by jumping in and assisting others. Be a helper, and then we will see about leadership."

Sometimes, they walk away with a sniff. "I'm happy to be up front leading, but how dare you ask me to serve behind the scenes? Aren't you aware of my tremendous gifts and abilities?"

Yes -- and I am also aware of your over-inflated ego.

Samuel Brengle graduated from college and signed up as an officer in the Salvation Army. Excited about his new role, he looked forward to providing visionary leadership for the cause.

He was dismayed to discover his first assignment of the new position was to polish a room full of boots -- filthy, worn, ugly, scuffed up boots!

"I can't believe they're doing this to me!" he grumbled, "Don't they know that I'm here to lead? I am an officer for heaven's sake! I've just graduated with honors! Why on earth would they give me such a lowly task? I didn't apply to be a servant!"

Then, the truth dawned on him. Leadership is servanthood.  To lead, we must follow. There is no task too small for a great leader. If you think a job is "beneath" you, it shows you aren't ready yet. You are beneath the job.

The best leaders are servants. From underneath, they lift up those around them and possess a "whatever it takes" attitude.

Getting along with others is a golden rule of leadership.  Do you want to become a better leader? Start serving!

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