Last night, a friend of mine was honored for twenty years of leadership. I say friend, but I’m hardly his equal. Nowhere near, in fact.
Before the event was over Kristin and I snuck in a few minutes with him to congratulate him.
But here’s the thing. In those brief minutes, he focused his time on me. And not superficially–he wanted to hear the latest news with me.
This is just one of the thousands of examples. From this friend, I have learned the essence of a good leader. And that is this: a good leader is one who can take the reigns without knocking everyone off of the wagon in the process.
As I see it, the real path to leadership isn’t in title. It’s in serving.
Anyone who’s either brave or stupid can grab the reigns. But it’s a special kind of person who can move us forward without losing us all in the process.
That last part–the without-losing-us-all bit–is talking about service.
A leader focused on himself is going to miss this. But a leader focused on the mission, and the well-being of those he’s leading, will keep his eye here continually.
If you’re careful, you can spot these people, because, even though they’re the leader, they’re never pulling the spotlight toward them. Usually, they’re the one pushing it away.
The great thing for the rest of us, is that it can be learned. Jesus said it this way, somewhat paradoxically “the first will be last and the last will be first” (Matthew 20:16).
The key to true leadership is not to focus inward, but outward.
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If this meant something to you, would you share it with your friends?