The Selfless Leader

We live in a selfish world. So it’s no surprise that nowadays selfish leaders prevail in companies, organizations, and schools.

It’s not hard to distinguish a selfish leader. You know one, when you see one. When a selfish leader talks to one of their subordinates who are in need of help, mentoring or advice, they’re canny about turning the conversation and making it about them.  A characteristic of selfish leaders is that they are self-serving. They also don’t give unless they’re certain they can get something in return.  Their leadership style is entrenched in the idea of “quid pro quo.”  

And as far as your feelings go, you’re more likely to find warmth in Alaska. Selfish leaders can hurt without remorse, and disappoint without blinking twice.  

A true and effective leader is one that is selfless. Their impact is felt across the organization, and their good will resonate with all people who come into contact with them. Their life is made extraordinary because they live to make other people’s lives great. If you’re a leader, you have a choice to make: be selfish or be selfless.  

5 Ways You Can Be a Selfless Leader Today

1.    Be present and listen.  Sometimes, all somebody needs is for you to listen. No judgment. No advice. Just be present in mind and in body, and listen.

2.   Think and seek wisdom. When you’re a leader your decisions not only affect you, they affect those following you. If an organizational decision goes bad, it will not only hurt you, it will hurt those around you too.

3.   Give unconditionally. True leaders will give expecting nothing in return. Why? Because they know when a person genuinely gives, the response they receive never matters. What matters is that they freely gave from themselves.

4.   Remember the Golden Rule.  Think about how you would feel if someone disrespected you and was inconsiderate of your feelings. Wouldn’t feel good. Therefore, if you wouldn’t want someone to treat you that way, do your best to treat them with the utmost respect…the way we all want to be treated.

5.    Honesty is key. Be direct. Leadership is not about making sure everyone praises your name and kisses the floor you walk on. You will have to make decisions that may not be popular. That’s what makes you a leader. The worst thing you could is lie and have a person believe they are doing a good job when in reality they’re not.

Remember being a leader does not mean you have the power to treat people however you want. Being a leader means you have a responsibility that will affect not only yourself, but also those you serve. Selfishness is already so prevalent in the world. However, when we truly want the best for others and not just ourselves, we must heed the call of being selfless. And as John Maxwell writes, "The heart of leadership is putting others ahead of yourself."

Originally published at

Posted on July 29, 2014 and filed under Blogs.