Putting others first has become a scarcity in today’s self-serving society. Money and power easily corrupt and the line ‘anyone can be bought’ is not just found in a movie script. Like money and power, human beings have become commodities, where life is cheap and capitalizing on others is about making wealth or advancing one’s own agenda.
Thankfully, in a world where everyone seems to be for themselves, there are those few who are willing to challenge the status quo. People who believe that life is not about them, but about others. These are the few rare people who stand up and take leadership roles that are found, not on position, power or money but on the needs of the people. These are those special few that are willing to do what needs to be done with a genuine caring about people.
It is apt to consider that caring for others, as a leader, is being highlighted during February, the month of love. All over the world, this month is known as Valentines’ month, where, though commercialized, we let that someone special know that they have touched our heart – that they matter! We make the choice to make them more important than ourselves.
The origins of Valentine’s day are not clear and there are a number of speculations as to how it came about. However, what has become legendary about its’ history is that it revolves around martyrdom – sacrificing the self for a belief or higher purpose despite the odds. Leadership, in itself, is no different. In this instance though, the sacrifice is time and energy, and the belief or higher purpose, are others.
There is no doubt that stepping up to leadership comes at a cost. However, leadership is also a choice; the choice to give up one’s own self-interest for the sake of another. This is contrary to the modem workplace where it has become common practice to incentivize people to sacrifice others for the sake of the business or shareholder. This, therefore demands that a leader be audacious, as he will be acting against the grain.
People give permission to a leader to lead them when they believe that even in the most difficult of situations, the leader will never sacrifice them for himself. They have come to trust, by and through the leader’s actions that he will take care of them, stand by them and put them first. He does this by being willing to love them – to go first; whether it is taking the risk for them or with them, as the leader, he will sacrifice for them.
Love is generosity. It is the generosity to give of oneself without expecting anything in return. In giving of oneself, a leader does not do it for himself; he does it because he authentically believes that others are more important. He vests his time and energy in other’s interests. This requires sacrifice, as it will involve making decisions based on putting people first, before profits and cost cutting. This is the essence of true leadership, and the foundation of greatness.
It takes greatness to overcome the need to do it for myself, yet humility in that greatness to do it for others.
A little more leadership with love could truly change our world.
“There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.”
― John Holmes
Bruniquel & Associates (Pty) Ltd
For more information on our Leadership courses please click here: http://www.bruniquel.co.za/leadership/