A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of fulfilling my civic duty as a potential juror. This was the fourth time I had received a summons to report for jury duty, although the first three times I was excused before I ever made it to jury selection. But not this time. This time I ended up spending two days at the courthouse and, as many of you who have been there know, it involved a lot of waiting, which gave me the chance to meet some very interesting people from all different walks of life. I had the opportunity to get in the jury box and answer questions from three sets of lawyers representing the plaintiffs and two defendants in a civil case. I also got a chance to watch 47 other potential jurors go through the same process.
If you have read my writing or attended any of my talks or workshops, you probably know that the title of this post is one of my favorite phrases. The concept behind this phrase is what I believe embodies the true spirit of servant leadership. Only a servant leader—one who has the tenacity to lead and the humility to serve—is willing and able to balance the full responsibility for bringing about the desired outcome with the recognition that nothing about the journey or the destination is about him/her. Such a leader must have the courage to provide direction, deliver bad news, and take corrective action when necessary, the consideration to do so in a way that creates capability, acknowledges progress, and builds the morale of the team, and the wisdom to apply both of these approaches in different measure as appropriate to each situation.
In my book, The Transformative Leader, I write about coming home from work one day, over 25 years ago, and having my son, who was only a toddler then, excitedly tell me about his day. I vividly remember him asking me, “Guess where I goed today?” It was hilarious. I absolutely loved it. I was so happy that he had figured out the whole past tense thing that I almost didn’t want to correct him. Despite his limited language skills at the time, he had already started to master the art of identifying and reapplying the patterns that he observed.