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Servant Leadership Gone Too Far

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

It’s not uncommon to hear a leader say something like “I wouldn’t ask my people to do anything I’m not prepared to do myself.”  Often it’s said in conjunction with the concept of servant leadership or something similar.

Although the sentiment is admirable, what about the ensuing actions?
True, everyone likes to see their manager acting or behaving just like one of us.  But how often should you do what you need others to do?
If you’ve been promoted to a role in which you now lead your peers, you know what I’m talking about: How can you possibly ask your former peers to do something that you now don’t???

The risk, however, is that you will continue to join your direct reports in doing their work.
At some point, you need to let your people do the work they need to do.

So that you can do the work that only you can do.

If you don’t have time to do the work that only you can do, then you need to ask yourself, “What work am I doing?”
It’s quite likely you’re doing work that your direct reports should and may even want to do.

So I know servant leadership is very popular.  And the concept is understandably so.  Command and control is so passé.

All that being said, don’t go too far with the servant leadership thing.
Do the work you’re supposed to do, that only you as the leader in your role can do.

In the end, your people will thank you for being a less distracted, and more successful leader.