When most people think of leading they tend to think of leading people “below” themselves in a business or organization. That is a very dangerous way to think because it’s hard to think of people “below” you without also thinking you’re somehow “above” the people you lead.
You also might begin to delude yourself into thinking you are somehow a “better” person than the people you lead. If you’re truly going to lead then you had best understand from your very first day as a leader that no title or position makes you a better person than anyone else.
It’s not even your title or position that makes you a leader. Your thinking and your actions make you a leader. Even more than that, it’s your people that make you a leader because no matter what you think or do, if no one is following then you’re not leading.
I am a strong believer in the concept of 360 degree leadership and I understand the reality of different “levels” within any organization. Unless you’re actually at the top of your organizational chart there will likely always be people above and below you on that chart.
The secret to being an Authentic Servant Leader is to never think for a moment that because someone is below you on an organizational chart that they are somehow below you in life.
People are where they are in their lives for a lot of reasons. Some had more luck than others, some made more luck than others. Some maybe were born with more advantages, some perhaps married into additional advantages. Some people may have earned a higher station in life and then somehow lost it. Our lot in life changes, sometimes because of what we did, sometimes because of what we didn’t do and sometimes it changes for no apparent reason.
The point is we are really pretty much all the same and the moment you start thinking you’re hot stuff is the very moment you begin the lose the empathy and compassion required to actually be an Authentic Servant Leader.
If you’ve been blessed with a leadership title or position, or if you’ve truly been blessed and have been given the ability to lead others without needing a title or position, then accept that blessing with humility.
No one is better than you and you’re no better than anyone else. It’s life’s perfect balance!
When we start thinking we’re better, or worse than someone else, then that balance is thrown off. Pretty much every problem, issue and challenge we will ever have is in some way caused by that “off-balance” thinking.
Every person is in some way special. When you understand that simple fact then and only then do you have the opportunity to be a truly special leader.