As a reader of business news, the decisions and actions of organizational leaders most often continue to be a source of admiration and inspiration. Unfortunately, there are times when leadership goes awry; employees lose jobs, profits tank, and sadly, corruption revealed.
The sad stories of Enron leadership are bilking employees of their retirement funds. Years ago, airline executives gave bonuses to themselves equal to their exorbitant salaries while asking pilots, mechanics, and flight attendants to make wage concessions for the sake of the airline.
The government bails out banks while executives still paid themselves huge bonuses despite their failures and poor investment decisions.
Then there are the leaders of a Houston based oil company that gave each of its employees six figure bonuses. The CEO of a Seattle based business took a 90% cut in pay so that all the employees would earn a minimum of $70,000 per year. There are numerous stories where entrepreneurs do not take a paycheck while paying their hard working employees in launching a new venture.
Do you know how a leader of a wolf pack leads? It is the oldest wolves who are front of the pack, the ones who no longer run the fastest, perhaps now are a bit lame, and have some lingering ailments. The middle-aged are in the middle of the pack. The leader brings up the rear. Why? So he can observe the entire pack.
The leaders of a pack of wolves can see all his colleagues. He can then protect, guide, and nurture them while he remains in the back of the pack. The leader of a wolf pack is a servant. He is bound and dedicated to taking care of others.
The most successful leaders see themselves first as a servant, then as a leader. A leader who serves. Good leaders know their followers. Good leaders know, respect, and learn from the leaders who preceded them. A good leader has the courage to stand up for his values, his organization, and his colleagues. It is a truly strong leader that can be gentle. A good leader is generous.
The best leaders are those who see themselves first and foremost as a servant.