As a leader, do we serve our employees, or do they serve us? It’s a good question to think about how we look at our work, and a way to evaluate your boss. A servant is defined by Dictionary.com as “a person in the service of another.” Should leaders serve their followers? Or do followers serve the leader? It’s a foundational difference in how leaders view their role at a company or organization.

As leaders and managers, we are responsible for accomplishing tasks. Our primary resources are the employees who work for us. In order to accomplish their responsibilities, managers will either view the need to use coercion or force in order to get their people to work, or they will need to use leadership. As John Maxwell says, “People don’t care how much you know [or need accomplished] until they know how much you care” (p. 7, section in italics added by me). Think about the people you have worked for, the ones you really enjoyed working with especially. Were they people who truly cared about you? And isn’t that the real secret of being a successful leader? When we truly care about the people who work for us and with us, aren’t they much more willing to go above and beyond the call to help us accomplish what we are supposed to do?

In my opinion, one of the problems with corporations today is the salary paid to the CEO. Don’t get me wrong, someone should be able to earn what they are worth, but is anyone really worth $6 million per year? Does their work really contribute more than that to the success of a company? And when someone is in the trenches earning $50,000 per year, are they really motivated to accomplish what the CEO wants done when they see their efforts facilitating the CEO’s $6 million salary? Just a thought…

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved March 04, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/servant.

— Maxwell, J. C. ( 1993). Developing the Leader Within You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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