Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last and Start with Why, says that a key aspect of a good leader is empathy. I would go even further and say that the mark of a good servant is empathy. If we want to lead and/or serve people we have to do what they do, we have to see what they see. We will get a hold of what they feel, we’ll understand what they say a bit better, so that we can serve and lead how they need. This week I tried to gain some empathy with the worldwide refugee population
I completed the Ration Challenge For one week I subsisted on 1 cup of dried lentils, 1 can of kidney beans, 2 pounds 14 ounces of rice 14 ounces of flour 1 can of tuna and oz of chick peas and a few tea bags. For those of you wondering, its not a lot of food. Before the refugee challenge the word refugee was just a designation. Either they qualified for benefits or they didn’t. I wanted to get some inkling of the story. I learned a lot being hungry.
Hunger can help us see any lack and move with purpose towards filling it. If one is hungry enough, filling up becomes number one priority because it consumes our vision and makes us take action. As leaders and as servants we might have to look at the needs of others as hunger pangs, not as things that are put upon us. But there is a marked difference between hunger pangs, and therefore need and asking for a candy bar at the checkout because we are “hungry”. That I might classify as a want.
Deciphering between these two, which on the surface seem to be the same is the mark of an astute servant leader. Someone in touch with “their body” During this week I had to pass many temptations with my eye on the mission (completing the ration challenge) and I had to ask myself “can I live without it?” So I think as servant leaders we have to do the same. We have to know what the mission is and we have to ask ourselves “Can we (our body) live without it.
What is your body? Who are you serving? What is the mission? How do you know what they need?