As a product of my generation, I am an avid Social Media user. It is fair to say that I have become addicted to having all the information and opinions in the world at my fingers tips. Over the past week, I have come to realise that the content of most personal growth articles and blogs focus on leadership. It seems that everyone wants to learn how to lead. This has made me wonder: With all the leadership material available, why is our world so desperately short of really good leaders?
In it for the fame
I will go on a limb here by saying that most people in leadership positions today are in in for the fame. They were compelled into their situation by an uncontrollable urge for attention. Their fragile egos thirst for status, power and control. All they are interested in is being the master, being number one, being top of the pile, being first in line. They are not really interested in helping others. They quickly learn that faking concern for others is enough. Come election time, they shake a couple of hands and kiss a couple of babies but once in power they forget about others. They are only interested to bask in the spotlight for as long as they can.
Sadly, most of us have bought into that idea of leadership. We all want to learn about leadership because we want to be glorified. We are not interested to learn about helping others simply because we are not really interested in serving others. We are more interested in being helped and in being served. We believe that to be important means being the master of others and therefore we have divided the world between winners (masters) and losers (servants).
This is where we make our biggest mistake. Serving others has nothing to do with your social status. Humanity’s greatest leaders have all chosen to become servants of others. Those genuine leaders who made the biggest impact had the attitude of a servant. Think of Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln. Their unmatched contribution to human kind was based to their choice to serve others. Their influence were grounded on their humility.
Everyone wants to lead but no one wants to serve
Finding genuine leaders today is so difficult because it is difficult to find people who honestly just want to serve others. Leadership start with a servant attitude. Leadership skills might make you look like a leader but without the desire to serve you will merely be another one of the million fakes that we are stuck with today. We must first learn to be the servant of others. We need to become tuned-in to the need of others and serve their best interests. We need to put ourselves last.
People do not want to hear this kind of message. They will quickly tell you that this is a slave mentality. That if you kneel before others they will just trample all over you; that serving others make you weak and vulnerable and that people will take advantage of you. You might believe that you have to look out for yourself and fight for yourself in this world. I will not dispute that people will take advantage of you when you offer to serve them. In general, our society is selfish and mean and if you help others you will get hurt. However, if you want to become a real leader you will have to learn to take it on the chin. If you are not willing to accept this, stop reading leadership books and articles and pretend that you care about others. Resign yourself to the fact that you have chosen to be one of the billions of people that live and die without making the smallest difference in life.
Once again: If you want to make an impact in life – if you really want to lead – you have serve others