“I’m In Charge Here.”

Those were the infamous words of General Alexander Haig who was present at the White House on March 31, 1981, when President Reagan was shot. He wanted to appear confident and assertive during this national crisis, but instead the country saw a man hungry for power and authority.

Anytime you have to tell people, “I’m in charge here,” it usually means you are not. You may have a title and position of authority. However, if people do not recognize your leadership and follow you willingly, most of the time you are a positional leader at best, or worse, a bully wanting your own way, regardless of your personality, decorum, or ability.

Bullies and poor leaders come in all sizes and shapes. Some use words, others use actions, paychecks, titles and positions, body language and passive aggressive attitudes, but all have one thing in common—they want their own way and will do just about anything to get it.

They ”lead” under the guise of wanting to help you, however, in the end its “my way or the highway.” A true servant-leader has no personal desire or ambition but serving. Not in a way of his or her own choosing, but the way that best serves you and your team the most.

“The servant leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve before they use their positional authority. That person is sharply different from the one who is a leader first, the need for power or acquire possessions. Between these two there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
Robert Greenleaf, Center for Servant Leadership

Two characteristics of true servant-leaders are humility and the ability to wait. Your humility is the balance to your talent and ability. We have too many Burger King Leaders that say, “I’ll have it my way and I’ll have it now, I’m in charge here.”

What say you?