In many ways all corporate groups (leadership) fall into two categories: Owners or Stewards.
Owners are spotted as they give off signals such as, “well it’s my way or the highway!” We know them from their commanding presence and the strong feeling that their group understands issues better than others. I wish it were true that this were an obvious thing, but life is such a mystery at times, that even those who are Owners many times, right along with Stewards by the way, really live so close to the forest that the trees or evidence is not seen. It is the human condition we all live in and for a good sample of this refer to Dr. M. Scott Peck and his book “People of the Lie”.
Stewards on the other hand live out their lives with the idea that they own nothing, but are servants of their customers. Politicians do a great job of convincing us that they are Stewards, well at least while they are on the campaign trail eh? I recall like it were yesterday hearing in person the great insurance magnet, W. Clement Stone saying that this was truly his key to success. He relayed that early in his life he had learned to keep this principle constantly in mind as he conducted his business affairs and that it had yielded the highest value, quality product for his customers.
I’ve no mind to make any specific person an object lesson today, but to say I grieve at the attitude of people that believe they are the Owners. They have no idea of the disservice they bring to our world. These that are so convinced that they alone know and understand the problem, have in fact closed their mind to needs of others and are firmly lost in their ideal to succeed.
Its time we look more intently in the mirror. It’s time we take the time to consider what we project to others and it’s time to consider whether we have poison in our passion.
Suggestion: It’s been said that before you judge a man, walk a mile in his moccasins. A path to being a Steward is for us to put ourselves in the place of others. This is no small feat in the age wherein we are so caught up with the huge amount of input coming our way for every direction. Evidence of this struggle is seen as top executives seek out courses in meditation and centering themselves.
Lastly, it takes a strong cup of persistence mixed with a little positive attitude to be a steward. It seems to me that at times Owners wear teflon. Stewards on the other hand take a thrashing. This was documented over 2,000 years ago when a young Jew named Jesus spoke to leadership about what should done about people that decided that a good way of handling a Steward was to put them to death. It’s also found in the statement, “please don’t shoot me, I’m just the messenger!” At the end of the equation it costs more to be a Steward. It is The Road Less Traveled and we can expect only to stay focused and not to lose heart over beautiful plans and work when they go unreceived.