Leaders often succumb to the temptation to make everything about them. It is about their goals, their career and their recognition. They become a selfish leader.
But God has called us to be a different type of leader. God has called us to be stewards of people. And rather than take from our team, He has called us to give ourselves to our team. He has called us to be generous leaders. But what does that look like?
Let’s look at seven of the most common sins of selfish leaders and how to overcome them:
- Relishing the spotlight. Instead, give credit. Point to others. A leader’s success is never about him. It is about them. While it is easy to soak in the praise of others, give credit where credit is due. Remember their success is your success.
- Skimping on pay. Instead, give a fair salary. Don’t intentionally underpay those you oversee. Don’t take advantage of a person’s naiveté. Do the best you can when you can. And when you can, err on generous pay.
- Limiting authority. Instead, give more responsibility. When a team member is doing well, increase their purview. There are a few ways this can happen. You can delegate some of your current responsibilities. You can shift existing responsibilities that are underperforming in other areas. Or you can add responsibilities that do not currently exist but are needed.
- Encouraging job over family. Instead, give team members time to care for their families. Let your team members know that they have the freedom to take care of their family responsibilities. If a child is sick and no one else can care for him or her, tell them to go. Take care of that child. If there is a death in the family, tell them to go. Comfort the family. Don’t worry. You will not be taken advantage of. Trust me, their spouse will not want them to lose a job where their family comes first.
- Hoarding information. Instead, give knowledge. Don’t withhold information that you feel is pertinent to team members’ success. Some leaders like to hoard knowledge because it makes them feel powerful. This is ridiculous. Provide your team with any knowledge that may help them. Share whatever data, research, literature or information that would be beneficial to them.
- Isolating themselves. Instead, give time. Make sure your office door is open more than it is closed. Make sure your team knows that you want to hear from them. Even if they do not take you up on it, your availability to them will communicate something important.
- Withholding gratitude. Instead, give appreciation. Say “thank you” often. I try to write five thank you notes every workday. This may work for you as well. If not, try to find some way to ingrain gratitude into your daily routine.
Strive to be a generous leader. Leaders are stewards of people. Give yourself to them, and they will give themselves to you.