Quick, think for a moment about the worst boss you ever worked for.
Most people would say, their worst boss was much more preoccupied with themselves than on leading them. They likely were someone who didn’t support you, didn’t seek or value your ideas, and didn’t treat you with respect. They probably didn’t get the best work from you, either. Working for jerks doesn’t do much a person’s motivation and morale.
Having worked with many leaders over the years, I’m convinced that leaders who focus more on “the troops” have far greater success than those who focus on themselves. I’ve also seen this many times: the more self-absorbed a leader is, the more likely it is that he or she will experience a humbling failure.
The more successful leaders in the military or business are servant-leaders. Instead of treating “their troops” as resources who do work for them, leaders look to be a resource for them:
- They collaborate with them to set goals.
- They remove barriers to their performance.
- They provide skill-stretching assignments and training opportunities.
- They give them air cover when pressure comes down from above.
Leadership, in other words, is not about you; it’s about them.
The fastest way to great results is taking a genuine and active interest in helping others succeed. When you focus on using your leadership for the good of others, you take a genuine interest in getting to know their needs, goals, aspirations, and gifts.