As I say in the podcast, I thought long and hard before including this trait. But I could not get away from the consistent observation that every truly great leader I have come across just seems to have this deep rooted inner belief that their first role is to serve others.
I say seem to have this deep-rooted belief because, unlike the other traits this one is nebulous and far more difficult to identify and quantify, but I just know it’s there in the very best leaders I come across.
And of course these leaders demonstrate their commitment to serving others not just at work but in their whole lives. They are equally committed to serving others in their family and voluntary leadership roles.
I return time and again to Jim Collins and his description of what he calls ‘Level 5 Leadership’ in his excellent book ‘Good to Great.’ These leaders consistently demonstrated two traits- personal humility and professional will. I think these traits perfectly reflect leaders who truly believe their first role is to serve others. If we don’t have humility, but instead have a large ego, we cannot and will not have this belief. But consider professional will as well- the determination to succeed. When we serve others we are not subservient, serving others means challenging them, holding them accountable, stretching them, giving them freedom within a framework, pushing them to succeed- the hallmarks of Mary’s leadership.
As with so much else about Mary there is nothing soft in believing your first role as a leader is to serve others. It’s a powerful, strong and (in my view) essential mindset from which the other traits flow.
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more then you are a leader.John Quincy Adams