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The Inconvenience of Serving Others

Wednesday, January 15, 2014 - Nathan Walasek

Foreword: Our 2nd annual Servant Leadership Summit is coming up January 31st. Space is limited. Go to to learn more. Remarkable speakers: Jim Hunter, Dave Skogen, Tom Thibodeau and myself present. Reserve your spot for this remarkable day!

One of the things I think a lot of Servant Leaders struggle with is the inconvenience of serving others. When we talk about the main tenets of Servant Leadership, all these ideas are hypothetical. We think, “Oh sure, I can do that, I love to help others.” But when it comes to reality, things aren’t always so simple.

I bet you’ve been faced with a situation where someone needed help and you knew the right thing—or Servant Leader—thing to do was to offer your assistance, yet you didn’t. Likely you were faced with your own pile of work and were feeling overwhelmed yourself. That’s just reality.

But the thing we need to realize is that being a Servant Leader means we’re always “on call,” as Lary Kirchenbauer puts it:

To serve means you’re on call. It doesn’t mean that you must have an open door every minute of the day, but it does mean that you stand ready and willing to serve your troops, and recognize their needs don’t always come in handy doses delivered at a convenient time. The test of a true leader is the ability to be present, to be reliable and disciplined about how to serve her team, and her willingness to go the extra mile to make sure that she’s serving her team, when, and where needed […] Don’t get run over, lose money or make accommodations that are unreasonable. Bring a positive “service” attitude as your sidekick and be willing to go the extra mile to serve everyone in your universe.

Joe Kiedinger

Action Plan: I challenge you this week to remain present and stand ready and willing to serve…even if it does come at the most inconvenient of times. That’s just the Servant Leader thing to do.