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 Quote of the Day:

“Allow the way to your great work to be guided by your service to others.”

Mollie Marti

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One of great fads of our time is to proclaim one’s self as a servant leader.

There are all manner of good feelings that attach to that leadership description.

The question this holiday season is, if you declare yourself a servant leader, does that declaration apply only to inside the walls of your company or is that a larger statement about your values in life?

Servant leader – does that term apply only to the workplace, or does it extend to how you treat a homeless person you seen on the street?

Do you tuck your head when walking through a congested area where homeless people roam asking for handouts or do you give them some pocket change, or perhaps a one dollar bill?

Will it go for drugs or, hopefully, for food?

As a servant leader, should you make that split second decision?  Should you care?

Tonight, December 21, is the longest night of the year.  For hundreds of homeless Americans it will be the last night they have on earth.  Many will die from exposure to the cold, malnutrition, drug abuse, or all of the above.

Their bodies will be found in the doorways of abandoned buildings, or even dumpsters, wrapped in newspapers or ratty blankets, trying to keep the killing chill of the night at bay.

Now, here is an important question for this holiday season: can you call yourself a servant leader, work in healthcare and not care what happens to these people?

Do you limit your charitable activities to the neat clean events of serving Christmas dinner that someone else spent hours preparing? Or are you willing to get into the gutter, where many of these people live, and lend a helping hand?

Is your servant leadership simply socially acceptable or is it deeply part of who you are?

Do you push your team to make real sacrifices this year, or are you more enamored with what plays well on the evening newscast?

If you see two men huddled on the front porch of the shuttered Neiman Marcus flagship store in downtown Dallas, will you shake your head and marvel at the irony?  Or will you go buy them a meal?

Servant leadership is not a convenient term.  It is not some catch phrase we can use to make ourselves look better.

Servant leadership, true servant leaders, have a mission that extends far outside the walls of their business enterprise.  True servant leaders are not into self aggrandizement or self promotion. They are in to serving,  they are into sacrificing.

So when you see someone on the street, do not judge — drug user or someone who may be mentally ill.

Be a servant.  Be a leader.  Offer a helping hand.

And on the day after Christmas, take that attitude back to your workplace and be a better leader. Your employees will notice.