The Road to True Success is Lonely

True success in the workplace doesn’t look like what most people expect it to look like. They think it means occupying the corner office. Having lots of money. Being a powerful individual. But that’s not true success looks like.

Jesus said that the Son of Man came to serve, not to be served (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). That model of leadership applies not only to the realm of faith, but also to the realm of business.

Here’s what true success looks like in the workplace.


1. True success is selfless.


I know a company that has the receptionist answer the telephone every time with the same answer: “How may I serve you?” That company understands from the top down that they are there to serve.

The way to bring out the best in your team is to focus on them, not you. You are there for them. They are not there for you.

Your leadership should look like serving, not bossing. Your team is not there to help make your job easier. And your job is to help them do their job better. Remember: it is not about you.


2. True success is doing what others won’t.


I have a friend who leads a company in a country where everyone thinks employees are there to serve the boss, not the other way around. No one in his company wants to wash the dishes in the sink because they think it is beneath them. One day, when he noticed that there were dishes in the sink, he started washing the dishes. When his employees saw him do it they were aghast. They told him that he couldn’t do it. They said it was beneath him. But he said he still wanted to do it.

My friend proved a point. He turned their paradigm on its head. He showed him that leaders are supposed to serve.

You have to be willing to do things that you shouldn’t have to do, so your team will be willing to do things that they shouldn’t have to do.


3. True success is not glamorous.


When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, they were shocked (John 13:8). They didn’t understand what Jesus was doing (John 13:7). Not only did their Lord and Master wash their feet, Jesus surprised them again by telling them to do likewise (John 13:13-14).

Telling your team what you want them to do starts with you showing them what you want them to do. They have to see it in action before they will be able to understand and repeat this model of leadership. You have to live it before they will do it.

You will get better results from your team when they see you are willing to serve. And your customers will see in your team as well. By doing good, you will do well at the same time.


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