As a leader, how often would you say you have to deal with selfishness in either yourself or your employees? Before you answer that question let me define what I mean by selfishness. It is: Putting oneself at the center, insisting on getting my own way, exploiting others so I can be happy. Expecting everybody to want what I want.
It’s obviously no one appreciates a selfish leader but it’s inevitable you will find selfishness in the workplace. There are times when admirable leadership traits are confused with selfishness. As the owner/leader of your company, making hard decisions or charting the company roadmap can be viewed by subordinates as selfish leadership acts when they aren’t included in the conversation or privy to the process.
The other side of the selfish coin is that employees often view their wants and needs as more important than company viability and profitability. When the “buck” doesn’t stop at your desk it’s easy to pass judgement that can undermine the company structure.
So how does a leader deal with it? Never forget employees are more likely to follow someone who puts the needs of the team above his or her personal interests. Leaders who are perceived to be in it for themselves rarely enjoy the support of their team. So how can a leader deal with this dilemma?
Selfless leaders will be…
1. Considerate. When making decisions ask this question every time; “what impact will this decision have on the people around me?” Your decision may make good economic sense for the company but have a bad impact on your workers.
2. Integrious. Selfless leaders are known for their integrity. Having defined your values and what’s important to your company let your workers know you will stand by those values no matter what. Be careful what guides your bottom line.
3. Trustworthy. An authentically selfless leader knows they must earn the trust of their employees. If your workers consistently distrust you motives, it more than likely be you are perceived to be a selfish leader.
Have you ever noticed how selfish people are miserable people? Thomas Merton, the great Catholic thinker, answered addressed that question this way; “To consider persons and events and situations only in light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell.”
So remember, you can bring a bit of heaven into your workplace by leading selflessly!
Contribution by : Dr. George Cope