Don't Lead Without a Reason

Why Do You Lead?

Bill Pollard had an interesting journey through his professional career. He started as a lawyer working in merger and acquisition law. Health concerns moved him to leadership at Wheaton College for a time, and an unlikely friendship landed him ultimately in the CEO’s office at the national service provider ServiceMaster. Bill’s unusual journey to taught him how to lead as a servant. In this video, Bill unpacks the concept of leadership and why serving others is so important. 

Bill begins the discussion with the question, “Why do you want to lead?” He argues that leadership isn’t the end goal, but rather the means to an end. The goal of leadership is to guide the people who follow you. A good leader, Bill says, should know where he or she is going and why it’s important to the people he or she leads. 

Why do you want to lead? In your current model of leadership, who stands to benefit the most?
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Where are you going as a leader? Where would the people who follow you say that you’re leading them?
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Bill draws a connection between servant leadership and the story where Jesus washes the disciples’s feet. As a leader it’s crucial to relate to and serve the people who follow you—it’s what sets a servant leader apart. Bill calls this attitude of service “a posture of indebtedness.” 

Even as CEO, Bill had to go out and clean toilets. He learned to relate to the work his people did. How do you engage in the work of those who follow you?
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How would you describe your attitude toward those who follow you? Do you view them as a burden? As a privilege?
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Bill concludes his discussion with an admonition to develop and maintain the dignity of every worker under your charge. Something as simple as calling each person by their first name can cultivate an environment of servant leadership. If we seek to model our leadership after Jesus’ example, we should strive to care deeply for those who follow us. 

For more insights and teaching from Bill Pollard, check out the full course The How-Tos of Servant Leadership

This post was made in cooperation with the Soderquist Leadership. For more great content, visit their website here.