For all the talk of servant leadership, in society at large, our focus is increasingly on “me first”. But if we actively participate in and feed a culture where it’s all about me – my daily photo to share with you all, my obsession with me time, put yourself first, look after you because no one else will – how do we expect the leaders who bubble up from amongst us to be different?
I’ve used Google’s Ngram to pull together the relative appearance of the phrases “Yourself first” and “Others first” in books for the last 50 years – 1969 to 2019. In 1969, the two phrases were used around the same amount, but by 2019, “yourself first” is being used twice as much as “others first”. With an acceleration from 2015.
I’m probably a little old school in this, but I’ve found for the best members of my team (and indeed for myself) that a focus on others first not only creates more value, but is more fulfilling and indeed better serves everyone’s interests.
You will be more valuable if you create more value. You will be more fulfilled if you fulfil more for others. You will get promoted if you help others move forward. You’ll create a better company if you aim to serve others. We’ll create a better planet if we serve it.
And actually, it turns out to be far more fun as well!
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