Sometimes we get discouraged that we can’t do the grand things we aspire to and in our discouragement, we don’t even attempt the small things. The problem with that is that often it’s the small, non-glamorous acts that can make all the difference in our organizations.
I experienced it several years ago. I had been working for one week cleaning classrooms when my boss decided to join me. I was immediately intimidated as she took up a rag and wiped down tables with me. I was sure she had a bigger agenda – maybe to reprimand me for an earlier performance or maybe to lay down the law of the land. I wasn’t sure, but I was cautious and careful as I continued to clean.
She asked me about myself and it seemed like she actually cared. She cleaned diligently. She spent several hours with me and I found she didn’t have any agenda except to get to know me better and to serve me. I felt incredibly loved.
That one sacrificial act by my boss set the tone. I was inspired to give my absolute best. I felt safe and cared for. I felt served and seen.
A small act of love can set the tone for those around you. But love always costs us something. It might mean you have to set aside your busy schedule for a morning. It might mean you stay late so your co-worker can leave early. Maybe it means that you humbly do work you feel like is beneath you. Ultimately, it means that you don’t exercise all the rights that come with being a leader, but instead you serve in love.
When we’re focused on adding value to the bottom line, we may miss opportunities to add value to those around us. It’s really hard to rip ourselves from our never-ending work (and there are times when it may be unwise to do so), but if we’re always inescapably swamped, we’ll always miss out on bettering our organizations by serving others.
When you love, you change things. I worked harder and more sacrificially because of my boss’s leadership. I respected and trusted her much more than many other bosses I’ve had. And my boss didn’t just serve me, she poured herself out for many others as well. She has added so much value to the world through her sacrificial love. The world is unmistakably better because she’s in it.
Let’s add value to the world, not take from it. Let’s make sure that those around us are seen, loved and served. Yes, it will cost us. But I bet the benefits of our sacrifices will far outweigh the costs.
Image info: Original image by Ed Gregory.
About the Author: Lindsey Tolino comes alongside artisans, craftsman and people monetizing their passions to help them create healthy businesses. She shares her heart at ToBusinessOwners.com. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTolino or connect with her on Google+ .