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04.02.12

A Leader’s Most Dangerous Thought

I deserve
“I deserve.”

Leadership is demanding. It takes a personal toll and if we are not careful, we can begin to make it about us. It’s not a difficult position to rationalize.

The problem with “I deserve” is that it changes our perspective. We see our contribution as more important than anyone else’s contribution. It creates a lack of proportion.

It leads to a wrong motivation for leadership: leadership as a means to better get what we want. We see this all the time—the hypocrisy of leadership—seeking positions of power while denying the real nature of leadership. Service. And it is why we have seen far too many leaders derail.

“I deserve” thinking threatens our ability to lead. It diminishes our influence because it takes us out of the community; out of the narrative. We no longer lead for the cause but only as a means to serve ourselves. Side effects include distrust, cynicism, the wrong kind competition and isolated thinking. Good leadership creates connections and avoids points of disconnect.

The opposite of “I deserve” isn’t denying ourselves. We must take care of our needs in the same way we take of the needs of others or we will not be able to properly serve others.

The antidote is remembering that leadership is not a position but a role. It’s a gift and it is temporary. It’s channeling all that we are for the benefit of others.

Leadership is something we live, for others.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 10:00 PM
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