Maybe it’s because it’s Christmas – maybe it’s because I’ve been shopping – perhaps it’s because I’m painfully aware of all the people in the world in great need; regardless of the reason, I’ve been thinking about generosity more than usual during this holiday season. And, because I’m always thinking about leadership, my mind began to put the two concepts together.

Have you ever seen a stingy servant leader? I’m not sure I have. Frugal yes; stingy, no.

Now, leaders are human beings, all of us certainly have moments of selfishness. But generally, I don’t see selfish and stingy servant leaders. Why would this be the case? I really don’t know for sure and I’ve done no research on this, but I’ve got an idea…

Servant leaders understand that it’s not about them. It is about those we attempt to lead. While the stingy heart rejects this premise and says, it IS all about me.

So what can we do if we’re feeling a little stingy? I have three recommendations:

Count your blessings – Seriously, get out a piece of paper or your laptop and make a list – don’t stop until you’ve listed at least 100 items. I don’t do this enough but every time I do I’m overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude. I find it hard to hold gratitude and stinginess in my heart simultaneously. Gratitude is a potent weapon against selfishness.

Give financially – The world is full of need. Find a needy cause and give. I’ve thought about this a lot and I agree with something Jesus said – it’s better to give than to receive. I don’t know how it works, but giving softens a stingy heart.

Serve others – When I used the term stingy in the title of this post, some of you may have thought I was just talking about money. I believe that’s the primary arena where a stingy, selfishness shows itself. But our time is another likely battleground. My recommendation – find someone less fortunate to serve. Look for a homeless shelter, a food bank, a nursing home, an orphanage, you decide. It will change you.

Let me be clear – I’ve not figured this one out. I’m guessing we’ll never truly beat this drift towards self.. However, if we want to lead well, constant vigilance will be required. I believe to strengthen our leadership we’ve got to focus more on others. I like the way Ken Blanchard said it…

Servant leaders don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less often.

I hope this Christmas you’ll be able to silence any whisper of stinginess and enjoy the power of giving like never before.[GLS_Shield]

Author: Mark Miller

Mark is a business leader, author, communicator, photographer, husband, and father. He spends his time helping leaders grow.