True Leadership

by Danny Tariman

“With humility think of others as being better than yourselves. Do not be concerned about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” (Phil 2:3-4)

“Sir Dan, I’d like you to meet our…” thus Ger was about to introduce me to the project team.

“Just call me Dan or Danny. Please don’t call me ‘Sir’”, I interjected.

Having worked in a different culture overseas, I had been used to addressing persons in their first name, even those who are of higher positions than I do.

But Ger, who is the Head of this bank’s group was insistent on calling me ‘Sir’. His position has the initials “VP” in it. He is not a lower-ranking officer. His group is composed of a number departments.

The same with Sally who is with our project team. She also calls me ‘Sir’. She too is the Head of another group within the bank and under her are a number of departments too.

At first I was uneasy.

But it struck me that even with their high positions in the bank, they truly respect me not just by calling me “Sir”. They defer to my opinions, they listen to me when I speak. In our meetings and dealings, I can sense their humility.

Despite of their humility, I have observed how their subordinates respect them too.

This is what I call “true leadership” – a leadership that does not use force nor intimidation, nor fear. True leaders are able lead people by influence through their humility.

But don’t get me wrong. Leadership in humility does not mean weak leadership. Because there is an inner strength and an inner power to influence in humility. Actually, leadership is influence (according to leadership guru John Maxwell). People are more likely to follow persons who does not bully them, who cares for them, who regards them as a co-worker or co-leader. These people would tend follow their leaders because they want to, because they know their leader cares for them.

And this affirms a Biblical principle in Philippians 2:3-4: “with humility think of others as being better than yourselves… also be concerned about the interests of others.”

I pray that we will all lead like our Leader – Jesus Christ Himself!

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