I’m reading this book entitled Moving Mountains. It’s the account of Lt. General William Pagonis, head of logistics in the first Gulf War in 1990. Besides being a book about military logistics, it’s also a great leadership and management book.
Because of his excellence at work, he was promoted to a three-star general. Instead of relaxing at his high position, he said, “I think I have to earn my stars every day.”
He saw leadership and promotion not as a status to attain or office to occupy, but as an opportunity to serve. He continued, “Fortunately, the opportunity for earning your stars…are almost unlimited.”
It’s refreshing to hear his perspective because it’s so different from the entitlement and special treatment that usually accompanies “leadership.”
Some thoughts I took away from it:
Don’t think that having a title or position equals leadership.
John Maxwell describes being a positional leader as the lowest form of leadership. People only follow because they have to. One way to test if you’re a positional leader is to ask, “Would these people follow me if I didn’t have my title?” If the answer is no, then you might be one.
Don’t wait for a position before you start serving.
Whenever election season comes along, I always wonder at the amount of money and energy that is spent by the hopefuls. What if that money was used to help people instead? It doesn’t have to be the whole nation, choose one group and just serve them.
While I don’t want to take away from the few public servants who deserve that title, many of these politicians have bought into the lie that they need a position to be of service. It’s frightening to watch them spend so much just to be elected because you wonder how they plan to make it back.
In the same way, do you see a need that can be met already? Don’t wait for a position or title. Don’t even wait for someone to ask you to do it. Serve now!
Don’t relax just because you’ve attained a new position.
When a leader relaxes after gaining his position, it shows that they consider leadership as a status symbol, not a chance to serve. We’ve all become disillusioned by the grand promises of politicians who say what they would do if they were elected. Wouldn’t it be great if we could audit them during their term of office to see who actually delivered?
Maybe you’re a leader now. Are you serving more passionately than when you began? You probably have certain privileges already. These are there so you can serve better.