It’s Not Beneath You.
There are jobs that we never outgrow. There are duties that we can never completely hand off to another. There are responsibilities that will remain our responsibility no matter how high we climb up the ladder or how many minions we have to answer our every beck and call.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of heartless CEOs or tyrant pastors who feel like they get a pass on serving others because they’re in charge. We all know the sting of being told what to do rather than seeing an example of servant-hearted leadership.
There’s an old adage that says, If serving is beneath you, then leadership is beyond you. In our current corporate culture, that’s never been truer.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Great leaders demonstrate that serving is just something baked into the fabric of their leadership. A few examples come to mind:
- I spotted this photo of Walt Disney picking up the trash at the end of the first episode of The Imagineering Story. I’ve seen a lot of photos of Walt, but never this one. Arguably the greatest entertainer the world has ever seen, Walt never got beyond making sure his parks were spotless.
- I was sitting in a Chick-fil-A once when Dan Cathy – chairman, CEO, and son of the founder – walked in. Before speaking to anyone in management, he bent over to grab an errant napkin off the floor and deposited it in the trash can. He greeted customers and cleared their trays from the table. As he walked by me, I couldn’t help but notice that his name tag said “Customer Service.”
- My dad is a second-generation business owner. Some of my favorite memories from my childhood include seeing he and my grandfather pitch in to help unload a truck if the guys in the warehouse were overwhelmed. Was it their job? Not necessarily…they had other people on the payroll to unload trucks. Was it their responsibility? Absolutely.
- “And Jesus called them to him and said to them, ‘You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.'” (Mark 10:42-45 ESV)
Leaders, let’s get beyond the horror stories that people tell about “those in charge.” Let’s make sure that serving is never beneath us so that leadership will never get beyond us.