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Posts Tagged: servant leadership

Walking in the Shadow


I recently had a conversation with a talented young leader considering a career change. As he shared nuggets of advice he’d received from his mentors, I listened intently, affirming most of what he’d been told. But then, he shared one particular piece of advice that really struck me. It came in the form of a precautionary question, and went something like; “…are you sure you’ll be okay walking in the shadow of your new boss?” At first, I thought this was a good question for him to consider. After all, this young leader was a shooting star destined to make a huge mark in society. With his talent, the last thing he needed was to be overshadowed or trapped serving some other leader’s needs. It was obvious, he was born to lead, not follow…right?

The truth is, the more I thought about this question the more it bothered me. Not because it was a bad question, but because the way this question was asked points to a dangerous trend in how our culture is conditioning our young leaders to think about the concept of walking in the shadow of another. It seems we’ve led them to believe that the more talent they have, the faster they should be at the top telling others what to do.

The Choice Within the Choice


“Forty miles-per-hour? The speed limit is fifty…are you serious?” Of course, this was only the first of a flurry of comments that spewed from my mouth as I drove near the bumper of the “Ya-hoot” (as I kindly referred to him) in front of me. I was on my way to a speaking engagement and this guy was obviously on his way nowhere. And, as perfectly spaced on-coming cars kept me from passing, I found myself stuck, following him nowhere for what seemed like an eternity -- until finally, his left blinker flashed. “Yes!” I shouted, with freedom in sight. Then ... it happened; he decided to play it safe and wait until the lone car, still a quarter mile away and practically crawling toward us, had passed. It was all I could take. On the brink of a melt down I gunned it, swerved right, and flew past him leaving only inches between the two vehicles, while both tires spun through the yard on the right. As I passed the car, still mumbling under my breath, my wife flashed a look of astonished disgust at me -- then shared a few well-deserved words of reprimand regarding my behavior.

Within minutes I was calmly driving the speed limit again reflecting upon what had just happened -- and the irony in it.