Leadership is influence-nothing more, nothing less. -John C. Maxwell

When it comes to influence, we all have it.  Influence is the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself.  The question is how much influence do you have?

Selfish leaders don’t think about how influential they are.  They don’t care if others believe they are selfish or not.  Matter of fact, these leaders believe they are doing everyone a favor by making everything all about them.

I love to watch and play basketball because it is a sport that allows you to burn calories, build endurance, improve balance and coordination, develop concentration and self-discipline, and promotes team work.  However, I remember as a child playing a different community parks.  Every once and a while my brother and I would play at a basketball court where a player would embody selfishness.  The player would lose, and then because of losing he would take his basketball and go home.  Leaders with this type of mentality are stuck in selfishness.

What is selfishness?

Selfishness is a devotion to or caring only for oneself.  It is being concerned excessively or exclusively with one’s own advantage, pleasure, interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.  The root of selfishness is a lack of empathy, which is a person being able to understand or feel what another person is experiencing.  In other words, selfishness is a person’s inability to see life from someone else’s perspective.

How selfishness affects your leadership?

Selfishness slowly destroys individual or organizational leadership.  This act of placing a higher priority on one’s own desires or needs versus the greater good will cause cold callous experiences.  Leadership development and growth is hard to maintain when followers feel a lack of care and compassion.

A quote that supports this idea comes from our 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt.  Roosevelt said, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

How to overcome selfishness?

Overcoming selfishness can be a challenge when there is a pattern of only caring for self.  Although overcoming selfishness is difficult, it is a simple process.  Here are three steps to overcoming selfishness.

1. Put others first.  A big part of selfishness is lacking empathy.  The key to being unselfish is to think of others first.  Great leaders are great at this.  They are constantly asking themselves the following questions: How will team react to this decision?  How will this impact my family?  Will this help or add value to someone else?  The best leaders pause a moment and think about how every word and action will affect others.  This will give you a true sense of confidence versus a false sense of security that comes from selfishness.

2. Lead with Integrity.  The word integrity is comes from the root word integer, meaning whole or complete.  If you are going to overcome selfishness, you will need to integrity, which deals with having an inner sense of wholeness, honesty, and consistent character.  Integral leaders don’t just think about others one time because it is a lifestyle of always caring for others best interest.

3. Build trust.  A leader that is selfish in his thoughts and actions doesn’t seek to build trust because it is only about him or her.  Gaining someone else’s trust will cause you to leave any selfish tendencies and think about someone else’s welfare.  While building trust, be careful of people who will try to take advantage of you.  However, don’t let that stop you from giving people the benefit of the doubt and the benefit of your trust.

 As a leader, you should be seeking to develop a culture of unselfishness with your leadership.  This will allow you to overcome many future challenges you will face along with growing your influence as a leader.

Where do you need to start with developing a culture of unselfishness with your leadership?  Please leave a comment below or email me directly.


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