Love Works Wednesday Link Up Week 5 – Unselfish

Today, we continue the  Wednesday series based on Love Works by Joel Manby.  In today’s post, Bill Grandi (The Cycleguy) and I are discussing the six chapter (Unselfish:  Think Of Yourself Less).  Check out Bill’s take by clicking here.

As a reminder, Manby’s premise is that leadership is best when it comes from a position of agape love based on I Corinthians 13 (“…[love] is not self-seeking”).  Since I already read the book, I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the sentences I underlined when I read the book initially:

  • “Being unselfish doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself – it means thinking of yourself less.” (p. 88)
  • “If we are unable to be selfless in our personal life, we are unlikely to be unselfish as a leader, and unselfishness is a key component of leading with love.” (p. 93)
  • “The crazy thing about giving is this:  when we give, we never know what might happen.  Often giving provides the giver with unexpected blessings – as well as making the world a better place.”  (p. 95)
  • “Being unselfish isn’t just for individuals – it’s for organizations too.  As leaders we’ve been blessed with resources, and part of our responsibility is to pass it on or “share it forward.”  The gift of leadership brings with it the awesome responsibility of giving properly of our time and resources but also of being a steward of giving for the organization.”  (p. 98)
  • “Giving time and talent to develop internal leaders is another important reflection of being unselfish in an organization.”  (p. 100)
  • “If we become numb to the needs of our employees, their performance and ability to satisfy our customers will diminish over time, compromising the very “numbers” we were obsessed with.”  (p. 101)
  • “’Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.'”  (p. 102)
  • “Unselfishness sometimes means letting others lead.”  (p. 106)

This is a tough one.  I don’t know many people who aren’t at least a little self-centered.  We live in a “look at me” culture.  Most of us have tunnel vision on what is best for ourselves.

We don’t put others first.  It takes focus and discipline to look past our own desires to the needs of others.

And it doesn’t take long to see this in the world around us.  Sports stars on the field or on the court pound their chests after a play as if to say “Look at me; I’m the man.”  Most politicians are looking out for their own interests instead of finding ways to compromise for the betterment of society as a whole.  And in the business world, it’s a dog eat dog world where people climb over one another to get to the top even if it means stepping on someone or even ruining someone’s career.

I probably shouldn’t state this as a blanket statement as I have met tremendous people who clearly have the interest of others in mind, but this doesn’t seem to be the norm.

I’m guilty of being selfish, and I bet if you’re honest with yourself, you’re guilty of selfishness as well.  I don’t want to be this way.  I want to be known for thinking of others first.  I want to treat others the way I would want to be treated.  So how do we do this?  Instead of coming up with a seven step process for becoming unselfish, I think it really comes down to one thing:

Follow Jesus.

That’s it.  You see he was a servant.  He put others first.  He put the interests of others ahead of his interests.  He was unselfish.

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:1-11

And this is how we should lead and live our lives.  If we follow Jesus in selfless living, we will change our homes, our schools, our places of employment.  And we will change the world.

Over the next four weeks, Bill and I will continue to explore love based leadership.  I hope you’ll read along, jump into the comments, and maybe even change the way you lead.  Until then, consider getting a copy of Love Works for yourself, and see how this book might change you and your leadership.

What is one thing you can do differently this week to become a more unselfish leader?  How have you been led with selfless, love-based leadership?