Too often leadership is thought to be simply the position or title someone holds or how many people they manage. I don't believe that this is an accurate definition of leadership. Leadership is not just the position you hold, but it's about helping others become the best versions of themselves. Leadership may not always be in a formal position – someone at the lowest level in a company can be a leader if he or she helps those around them to become better people just by interacting with them.
In my life I certainly hold many leadership positions. I own my company, Em-Media; I am also the CEO of my company; I sit on multiple boards; and I am a leader in the Steubenville Rotary Club. However, at the end of the day this does not automatically make me a leader. I am only a leader if those around me become better people because they interact with me. I believe that, for much of my life, I have strived to live up to this definition of leadership. I always have room to improve, but I feel as though I've inspired those around me to be better versions of themselves.
One of the ways I put this definition of leadership into practice is by humbling myself and becoming a servant. "Servant leadership" is a type of leadership modeled primarily after the life of Jesus Christ. I am a Catholic and so I do my best to model my life after Christ each and every day. One of the ways I do this is as a servant leader. The Gospel of Matthew says, "The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” This means that even the Son of God, the greatest leader to walk the earth, was a servant to others.
This principle of servant leadership also applies universally, outside of the Catholic faith. Many great leaders from other religions, and leaders in today's world have practiced servant leadership. Some leaders that come to mind are Buddha, Gandhi or Mother Theresa. Instead of simply telling people what to do, they lived out what they believed, serving people along the way. They put their own desires aside to help other become better versions of themself, acting as a true leader.
For me, I do my best to act as a servant leader each day of my life. At work I try to lead by example, asking what I can do for others to help them succeed that day. At home I serve by putting my wife and children's needs first over mine.
There are many ways to practice servant leadership throughout your daily life. Ask yourself: "Am I a servant leader? Who are the servant leaders I know and what makes them great?"
When you think about the great leaders you know, they are often servant leaders. They help you become the best version of yourself by leading through example and by serving you.
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