Growing up I’m sure we all heard the adage, “It’s better to give than it is to receive,” but many take giving to mean money and the things that it can buy. There are currencies, however, that require more than the swipe of a credit card. You can lend an ear to a downtrodden friend, offer your support in a moment of doubt or donate your time to a cause close to the heart. Tangible and intangible, what you’re actually doing is serving. Service is the means through which we pay it forward and the measure of our commitment to others.
As Founder and CEO of peggsit.com, I serve my users, employees and strategic partners because someone first took the time to oblige me. His name is Richard Ramsey and he is the President of the Leadership Education And Development (LEAD) Program, a 4 week introduction to business, engineering and computer science for high school juniors. At 16, I knew nothing of American business but I followed his lead (no pun intended) and watched as he shared his vision and sold his dream to University Presidents, Boards of Directors and fundraising partners. I can not say I understood everything, but I knew that someone was investing in my future. Mr. Ramsey was delivering the lessons and instincts it would take to lead, and I followed his road map knowing that someday they would be mine to impart.
Only lessons learned can be shared, and you can only learn what you allow yourself to be taught. Leadership requires humility. It’s humility that gets you to the office before others and keeps you there well past normal hours. If you’re not omnipresent, how else will you observe and ultimately adopt the practices of leadership? The journey requires patience. The lessons of leadership must be gleaned: bit by bit you will be shown the way. Not only must you be willing to follow the path before you, but oftentimes what the horse leaves behind is a steaming pile of mess and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to move it out the way.
Your job is the prepare the way for those who follow. In business it means removing the roadblocks and tempering the occasional snafus that prevent growth. Leaders exists for the benefit of all, but you can only lead those who are free to follow. The beauty is that we will play both roles throughout life. There is a time for instruction, but not before the lesson is received. There is a time when you will offer your counsel, but not before someone has advised you accordingly. Leadership is a two act play that requires both roles to tell a complete story.
Author: Michael Peggs, CEO & Founder, peggsit.com