Service Versus Leadership

"Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree and you don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace; a soul generated by love."

– Martin Luther King, Jr

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Can you imagine attending a leadership presentation, and the first thing the speaker says to you is don’t seek to be a leader?  If Lou Nanni, VP of the University of Notre Dame, is the speaker, that is exactly what you might hear.  Lou, who is frequently asked to give talks about leadership, often shocks the person who invited him to speak because he begins his speech by saying, “Don’t seek to be leaders. Instead seek to be servants.”  Not exactly what you would expect to hear, but there is tremendous value in that thought.

Often when a person seeks leadership, what is really driving them is their own internal gratification, or their need to climb some sort of corporate or social ladder.  Instead, if you seek to serve others purely and abundantly -- whether it is your family, your friends, people who report to you at work, people in your community -- leadership will be given to you.  And leadership is always better when it is given rather than when it is sought after.