A service to be given

It’s tempting, if you’re in a position of authority, to make as many decisions as you can, to be involved in every detail of every transaction, and to avail yourself of every opportunity that your position affords. After all, we generally rise to our positions of authority because of our success in doing those very things. But authority isn’t leadership.
If leadership really is a service to be given (and I’m convinced that it is), then our responsibility is to introduce those we lead into every decision, transaction, and opportunity that we can, then to help them succeed.

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I'm a 30-something lawyer working at a fast-growing tech startup. I read Milton (John and Friedman) for fun. And I'm out to change the world.

2 thoughts on “A service to be given”

  1. In my career I have worked for many great leaders and a few not so great ones.

    What made them great was that they set a course with an end goal and then let me execute what I needed to make the goal. Other than periodic status updates, they were not involved in the minutiae.

    This to me is really how leadership is a service to be given. A true leader doesn’t set out to become a leader, but a person becomes a true leader by the quality of their actions and the integrity of their intent.

    1. I agree, mostly. Except, sometimes I want a leader who’s involved in the minutiae. The point I’m trying to make here is that the leader needs to sort of push the follower into the action. The leader likely knows exactly how to do whatever it is that needs to be done. The temptation is to take over, to bask in the limelight, and to enjoy the fruits of the labor. But that’s not what the leader is there for. The leader is there to help others get further down the path. The fruits should primarily strengthen those who follow. The leader should be out in front, lighting the way. The followers need to take over, but maybe not immediately.

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