This week in the UK, we celebrate our Queen’s platinum jubilee. I believe this makes her the world’s longest reigning monarch. For 70 years, Queen Elizabeth has pledged herself to a life of service. Personally, I believe she is an inspiration. A central value of her life has been duty; a word I think we can view negatively and yet here it has provided a core of stability in her life and the life of our country. As leaders, to maximise your impact, your motivation to lead must be built around service.
“At the most fundamental level, there are only two motives that drive people to become a leader. First, they want to serve others, to do whatever is necessary to bring about something good for the people they lead […] The second basic reason […] is that they want to be rewarded. They see leadership as the prize for years of hard work and are drawn by its trappings: attention, status, power, money.” Patrick Lencioni
Our motivations at times can be poor. However, if you prioritise service over status, as a leader, you will maximise your influence. Whatever your motivation is will show up in your decision making, treatment of others, and commitment when it is tough going.
For the responsibility focused leader, being a leader is a service function that carries responsibilities. The role of being a leader should be hard and challenging, serving the team will require more of you. That is not to say that there is no satisfaction and enjoyment in leading because there are.
The goal of leadership is to create an environment where: every voice is heard, people have permission to take risks and innovate, and people can bring their best. Only one of of these two motives increases the likelihood of achieving this. If as a leader you have arrived at this point in your leadership journey and your motivation has been about reward, that is ‘I deserve this position, the status, the recognition, and the money,’ then this will not serve you well in realising the potential of your team.
What is your motivation as a leader?
If your motivation comes from a desire to serve those you lead, then this will work its way out in your behaviour and actions. The leader who has this kind of motivation will look to be:
- Available to the team when needed.
- A person looking to resource and develop team members
- More adept at listening
- Walking with integrity
If you lead this way, it will have an impact on:
- The development and growth of individual team members
- Crucial or difficult conversations with team members
- Team meetings
- Commitment to agreed outcomes
- Trust in the team
- The way you communicate your vision
“You always make the right decision when you put your people first.” John Maxwell
Whether you agree with the monarchy or not, Queen Elizabeth has embodied a strength of character that has lasted seven decades. As leaders we can learn a lot from her resolve to serve and do her duty.
I hope you enjoy the Jubilee celebrations whatever you are doing.