Leadership, Effort and Motives – One Drop of Water

by  Mike Henry  |  Self Leadership

“One drop of water helps to swell the ocean; a spark of fire helps to give light to the world. None are too small, too feeble, too poor to be of service. Think of this and act.” – Hannah More

So often, we evaluate the results before taking the action. We project an expected result and chose our effort.  Does your effort determine the result or does the expected result determine your effort?  How many times have you chosen not to act because you didn’t perceive a benefit?

It’s alright to judge the benefit received from an action.  We all do.  It’s part of the value principle. Each person chooses whether or not something is valuable by comparing the cost (effort, resources, time, etc.) to the return.  But when that judgment causes us to fail to provide benefit to others, we immediately reduce our own legacy.  You see, you will be measured by what you contribute over what you consumed.  Your contribution will always be judged by others.  Did you produce more than you consumed?  Did you take up space on earth during your time here or did you create space for others during that time?  Did you create more than you consumed?

Last week I met and heard Jeremie Kubicek, Founder and CEO of Giant Impact and author of Leadership Is Dead.  He talked about how leadership changes when the leader changes their motive.  As a leader, are you trying to get something from your people or your customers, or are you trying to do something for them?  Don’t let “What’s in it for me?” cap your contribution or determine your legacy.

Live today remembering this quote. One drop of water swells the ocean.  Your extra effort creates value for the people in your sphere of influence.  You make your community a better place to live.  You make your workplace more profitable, enjoyable and gracious when you go above and beyond the call.  Your spark helps light your world.  Everyone can be “of service.  Think of this and act” today!

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About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Page Cole  |  14 Nov 2011  |  Reply

In the world of small business where the “bottom line” seems to loom over my head all of the time, this is a challenging thought. It seems sometimes that the more I reach out to others to give, the more they take advantage of that attitude.

Just curious, any suggestions to deal with this situation, whether it’s a failure on my part to do it right, or on theirs for not responding better? Any suggestions would be great!

Mike, I appreciate the encouragement to keep trying, and to keep trying to develop those positive attitudes in my staff, not only from you but from everyone in the Lead Change Group!

Mike Henry  |  14 Nov 2011  |  Reply

I think we all struggle with the balance you discuss. For me, the challenge has been “who” rather than “how” when it comes to my effort. Everything is force ranked by the leader’s time and priorities.

In a business, I feel the leaders top priority should be their people. To me the best effort is in equipping others to understand the change mentioned above. The boss is “for” the team and the team is “for” the customer. But what’s best “for” the customer is a profitable company with healthy employees who are energized to serve them again because they are energized to produce a quality service or product at a reasonable profit.

Those are just some initial thoughts. I hope that helps a bit. Mike…

Deborah Costello  |  16 Nov 2011  |  Reply

I read your post and this article from the NY Times in the same hour and I feel like they’re related.

At some point as leaders we have to actually lead, to step outside of projected results or poll results or anything else and actually take a risk. It is the risking that reaps the rewards and sometimes the failures. And it is the one taking the risk that IS the leader. The rest are actually followers.

Mike Henry  |  16 Nov 2011  |  Reply

Thanks Deb for the comment. It is the ones actually in the arena that are doing the leading. We can talk about and want to lead, but until we take the risk, we don’t stand a chance. After a while, if the “opportunities” seem to be less-than-right all the time, maybe we’re not willing to initiate leadership in the first place. Interesting perspective and especially applicable in the government context. Thanks.

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