I would argue that, more than ever before, we are living in a “me-first” society. The rise of the internet and social media has resulted in unprecedented reach and access, giving individuals the ability to broadcast anything and everything about their own lives.
“Look at my selfie” (is there nothing else to do in life?)…
“Look at how happy I am” (Do we really know?)…
“Look at the pictures of our incredible family vacation” (actually, we argued during the entire trip)…
Certainly, we all have an innate desire to be known on some level. But, we also have a bent towards selfishness, and leaders are certainly not exempt. That’s why great leaders, at some point (and likely often), will have to wrestle with what their motives are in decision making.
As leaders, are we making decisions based on what is right in a particular situation, or what is simply right for me?
Is that great success story or plug on social media about the team that worked together to accomplish great things, or is it about getting people to notice that I’ve done something great that needs to be recognized by all?
Sometimes the lines get blurry, which is why we as leaders have to be purposeful about examining ourselves and our motives.
We need to practice recognizing and suppressing selfishness in our own lives, so that we can more easily notice when it’s creeping into our teams.
A team stops becoming a team the moment an individual begins to care about themselves more than they do the mission.
And, it will happen. That’s why an unselfish leader is necessary to course correct when these times come.
Practice evaluating yourself. Be honest about what you see. Work diligently to serve others. In doing so, you will find that your decision making philosophy will change from a selfie to a real team success photo.