I am reading an advance copy of What Leaders Believe, the newest book from Mountain State University’s President, Dr. Charles H. Polk, and Dr. William White.
The book compiles centuries of leadership wisdom, organized around five leadership competencies. I love the way the authors have drawn quotes from the ancient sages to modern leaders, from the far east to the Oval Office. The book will be an excellent resource for students of leadership and seasoned leaders, putting a wealth of leadership knowledge within easy reach.
I’m still thinking about this quote from Kouzes and Posner:
Serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks.
One of the reasons I love this quote is because it reinforces my own leadership philosophy. I have written before, and some readers have disagreed with me, that leadership is for everyone, every day. Leadership is not about position, it is about action.
You can choose to serve others daily, wherever you are, in small ways or large. Serving is leading.
Anyone can serve. Anyone can lead.
Service is others-centered. When you choose to serve others, you elevate them. By serving others, you value them. Your actions say: You are important. You are worth my time and energy.
More than any other leadership decision, the decision to serve another has immediate and positive results.
Here’s an example. Every week, my friend Donna helps to plan, prepare, and serve dinner to a group of students at a church near Mountain State’s campus. I’ve never been to one of the dinners, but this is how I picture it:
Rectangular tables, in the church basement. Folding chairs, paper napkins. Steam rising from platters of food. People straggling in, grabbing plates, then joining others at the tables. Laughter, loud conversation. Hugs.
At the end of the evening: people talking, empty platters, a big broom to sweep up the floor.
This fall they’ve eaten: fried chicken, ham and macaroni and cheese, baked potatoes with a variety of toppings, homemade brownies.
The immediate and positive results of Donna’s service are obvious. People are nourished, nutritionally and personally, by the food, friendship, and kindness she shows.
Any time you serve others, the positive benefits – to the people being served and to yourself – go beyond what is obvious initially. In fact, you may never know the hidden or long-lasting value your service brings to another.
Glorious. Rewarding. Service.
What can you do to serve others today?
This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted with permission.