A legend tells of a French monastery known throughout Europe for the extraordinary leadership of a man known only as Brother Leo. Several monks began a pilgrimage to visit Brother Leo to learn from him. Almost immediately, they began to bicker about who should do various chores.
On the third day they met another monk going to the monastery, and he joined them. This monk never complained or shirked a duty, and whenever the others would fight over a chore, he would gracefully volunteer and do it himself. By the last day, the others were following his example, and from then on they worked together smoothly.
When they reached the monastery and asked to see Brother Leo, the man who greeted them laughed.
'But our brother is among you!' And he pointed to the fellow who had joined them.
Today, many people seek leadership positions, not so much for what they can do for others but for what the position can do for them: status, connections, perks, advantages. They do service as an investment, a way to build an impressive resume.
The parable about Brother Leo teaches another model of leadership, where leaders are preoccupied with serving rather than being followed, with giving rather than getting, with doing rather than demanding.
Leadership based on example, not command. This is called servant leadership.
Can you imagine how much better things would be if more politicians, educators, and business executives saw themselves as servant leaders?
Written by Michael Josephson