“If you are too big to serve, you are too small to lead.”
Rich Wilkerson, public speaker
I hear, all the time, very successful from leaders that they are very busy. When it comes time to volunteer, they will raise their hand but then the office finds out the leader really volunteered them. The administrative assistant tends to be the organizer of the troops. When it comes to actually serving (Habitat For Humanity, Homeless Kitchen, Galas, etc.), the troops look around and wonder why the leader is missing. Usually, the excuse is…”I am just soooo busy! I cannot be there today.”
There is a growing gap between the haves and have nots in our world, our organizations, our country and our cities. I recently read that 80% of the assets in the world are owned by 10% of the the households. Did you know that the top 1% of families now hold over 50% of all wealth in the world. There is a gap there… a big gap and, unfortunately, it is growing. The pay of the top executives of Fortune 500 companies has never been so disjointed from the pay of the average worker for their organizations and, unfortunately, it is growing. This is happening while pension funds remain at historic and critical levels of being underfunded. There are gaps everywhere. BIG gaps that could turn catastrophic.
So what does this have to do with leadership? I believe a huge cause for these gaps is the lack of leadership or poor leadership. We can all point to leaders who think more of themselves when it is time to divide up the fortunes of success. Where, when and how can we stop this trend? We need to embrace leadership differently. We need (and there are some) leaders who think more of the good of the whole than the good of themselves. We need more servant leaders. Leaders who are willing to “wash the feet of others” before they get there next pedicure.
How do we get there? It is true that this trend has been going on for a long time. We need more altruistic organizations that teach the moral joy of serving others. We can all use a refresher course in having a servant attitude. Great leaders get it. Great leaders are examples of it. This is because great leaders accept the responsibility of knowing our organizations and our society depend on serving each other and working together. It is just the right thing to do. We need to develop more great leaders but they have to be taught through mentoring programs and volunteering opportunities, etc.
So, where do we start? I am reminded of the quote, “If it is going to be, it is up to me.” It starts with you and me. If we don’t get busy, the gap will become a dark abyss. I do not want to go there, do you?
Until next time, Peace. 🙂