Paul Hargreaves: Self-sacrificial Leadership
My son after watching my weekly video that match these blogs let me know that he thought that I was coming across as being too intense on the video and needed to lighten up a bit. If that is so, it is only because I am passionate about wanting to see more better leadership in place to turn around our businesses, organisations and country for better. You might think it to be a step too far to expect our political leaders to change, but there is a new, more empathy-filled leadership happening in some countries of the world and we are missing out here in the UK due to being stuck with old models of leadership.
The trouble is that many leaders, whether in business or politics find themselves in their positions because they have pushed themselves forward, sometimes at the expense of others, when actually what we need are leaders who put others before themselves. Both the business and political arenas are full of leaders who have been single-minded and have had big aspirations for themselves and their families, and have dreamed of large houses and fast cars and, in many cases, have achieved their dreams. These leaders may well have sacrificed a lot to get to their positions, but in many cases, the sacrifices were for their own benefits not others.
What we require more than ever now are leaders who are prepared to sacrifice personal ego-trips and put the people they lead first. Looking back through history, the leaders who have done this, and in some cases paid with their lives, are the ones who have made the largest impact. Some of them haven’t seen the fruits of their leadership which has come after they passed. As Adoniram Judson said, "There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success it is because someone will succeed after."
There is a sense for some of us that self-sacrifice is hard and painful and not something we should aim to go through because it is not enjoyable, and that is something that is perpetuated in our western upbringings. However, once you have tasted the great joy of seeing happiness in others through our self-sacrifice, that is a far greater reward than any material possessions for ourselves.
I am reminded of a story I once heard about a farmer whose barn burned down within which there were a few chickens. As the farmer was wandering around the charred remains, he kicked what he thought was a charred ball on the ground. As he did so four chicks ran out from under it. The ball of course was the mother hen who had sacrificed herself for her chicks. What a great picture of self-sacrificial leadership.