The Spirit of Authentic Service to Others

In the lingering echo of President Obama’s inaugural address, I continue to reflect on his call to all of us to be in service to others. In speaking about our selfless and courageous service men and women, President Obama said, “We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.” Now more than ever, our government, companies, non-profit organizations, our faith communities, schools and most of all, our families, are in dire need of servant leaders.

I believe that in order to lead one must serve others authentically and from the heart. We all know those wonderful people in our lives who give without expectation of return…..We might ask ourselves, how do they keep serving others with such passion and joy? One possible answer is that being an authentic giver requires one to put the needs of others before his/her own – knowing that we are all part of a bigger community be it at work or in our personal lives. These people receive joy from the act of giving to others and seeing the positive impact of the gift in others lives.

Whether you are a formally appointed “leader” in the organization that you work for or you are an associate, by authentically serving your colleagues, customers and managers, you build personal power and influence that positions you to make a difference for the greater good of your organization – a legacy for others to follow. Remember that giving from the heart is contagious and inspiring, while service out of obligation is temporary.

In closing, I leave you with the powerful words of a true servant leader, Martin Luther King:
“Every person must decide whether to walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?”