Bill Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, author and expert on leadership for change recently penned this blog post on HBR. Here’s my favorite excerpt so far:
So if money, power, and fame aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, what are the resources that allow leaders to make real change and have an enduring impact? I’d nominate purpose, passion, and humility. The most effective leaders I’ve gotten to know, whether they are in public life or corporate life, are the ones who conjure up a genuine sense of mission among their colleagues — leaders who stand for something more than themselves.
Selfishness has a gravity. And like all massive bodies, the closer you get to selfishness the stronger it pulls. Give gravity enough strength and it will suck you right in. Give it a little more and it will crush you.
There’s a myth out there in the minds of businesspeople that professional success requires promotion of self above others; that to get ahead you must be willing to step over others and that getting ahead justifies all kinds of means.
That sounds to me like dancing around a black hole and expecting it not to suck you in.
Mr. Taylor and a growing raft of the world’s leading thinkers (well supported by evidence, by the way) are tearing away the veil of the self-promotion-at-all-costs myth. Indeed, it turns out that the qualities which define a good businessperson are the same qualities that define a good person. By extension, those qualities that define a good person also define good companies: reliable, relatable, friendly, genuine, selfless.
Keep this in mind when building your company’s culture.
Keep this in mind when building your professional character.
The final sentence of the second-to-last paragraph of Bill’s post above refers to the all-time master guru of servant leadership. Many of us already strive to live our personal lives by his example. It’s time we live our careers by his example too.