July 18, 2016
I went on a search to become a leader.
I searched high and low. I spoke with authority. People listened. But alas, there was one who was wiser than I, and they followed that individual.
I sought to inspire confidence, but the crowd responded, “Why should I trust you?”
I ran ahead of the others, pointed the way to new heights. I demonstrated that I knew the route to greatness. And then I looked back, and I was alone.
“What shall I do?” I queried. “I’ve tried hard and used all that I know.” And I sat down and pondered long.
And then, I listened to the voices around me. And I heard what the group was trying to accomplish. I rolled up my sleeves and joined in the work.
As we worked, I asked, “Are we all together in what we want to do and how to get the job done?”
And we thought together, and we fought together, and we struggled toward our goal.
I found myself encouraging the fainthearted. I sought the ideas of those too shy to speak out. I taught those who had little skill. I praised those who worked hard. When our task was completed, one of the group turned to me and said, “This would not have been done but for your leadership.”
At first, I said, “I didn’t lead. I just worked with the rest.” And then I understood that leadership is not a goal. It’s a way to reaching a goal.
I lead best when I help others to go where we’ve decided to go. I lead best when I help others to use themselves creatively. I lead best when I forget about myself as leader and focus on my group…their needs and their goals.
To lead is to serve…to give…to achieve together.
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