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The leader who serves self-interest leads no one. The leader who serves others leads them.

“He that thinketh he leadeth and hath no one following him is only taking a walk.” ― John C. Maxwell

As Maxwell points out – those with no followers are not leading. The saying can be easily extended to those that are controlled or manipulated followers. For example, if someone is obligated to follow you for compensation, security or other reasons they deem beyond their control, they are not truly following. Instead, those “followers” are merely employees or other form of dependents.

If you desire to be a leader – forget it, you’re not ready.

If instead, you want to serve and believe you can serve most effectively as a leader, then you get it. Lead by serving your stakeholders. That’s the only way to be a real leader – through service. Am I biased? I don’t think so. I think I’m a realist. Servant Leadership is real leadership. Anything else is an excuse for self-interest.

Question: What do you think, is it possible to lead without serving those you lead?