A Critical Growth Path for Leaders: Generosity

September 27, 2018

Many of you may have heard the story of King Midas.  He was a very wealthy king and loved gold very much.  One day Dionyssus, the god of wine and revelry gave him one wish.  Midas wished for everything he touched to turn to gold.  Soon everything around him was gold, but his greed cost him dearly, since even his daughter had turned into gold at his touch and he ran the risk of losing the whole kingdom.

Sustainable Leaders are Generous

Leaders run the same risk of losing things dear to them by not keeping greed in check.  Greed is the desire to acquire and possess more than what one needs or deserves and I think all of us suffer from this at one stage or another.  As leaders we need to identify this tendency in our lives and engage in a growth process to get rid of greed and cultivate generosity in our lives.

Why is this important?  I believe sustainable leaders are generous people.  They have gone through the process of developing from greed to generosity.  The details of the process will differ for each person, but the principles will remain the same.

Sustainable Leaders Confronts Greed

Greed is much more than just craving materialistic things.  Greed also craves power, influence and fame.  Greedy leaders do things based on the amount of personal gain and they act in a self-serving manner.  This type of leaders seldom leaves people better off than before started to lead.

You confront greed in two ways:

  • Take courage and face the pain of acknowledging your greed.
  • Identify areas where you are more prone to greediness and make a conscious decision to “want” less in those areas.

Sustainable Leaders Develop Gratitude

Gratitude is thankfulness for what you have and not being angry about what you don’t have.  The most effective way to address Greed is through thankfulness.  Thankfulness is counting your blessings, literally.  Make a list of all the good things in your life, deserving of your thankfulness, for example being healthy or having loving parents.

Thankfulness allows you to experience.  Once you see how easy it is to lose all we hold so dearly, thankfulness becomes a way of live.  Once we see how much we have in terms of how little others have, generosity comes much easier.

Sustainable Leaders Practise Generosity

Generosity is the ability to generate and give more than what you receive.  Thankfulness enables you to lift your head and see wider than your own little world.  Moving towards Generosity is not only giving away resources.  Generosity is not just being generous in giving, but also being able to generate, based on the principle of “give and to you shall be given”.  Focusing on other people’s needs also enables you to generate more than what you receive in order to have enough to share around.

Generous Leaders therefore generate resources, both physical and social, in order to share with people who have less.

How thankful are you for the blessings you take for granted every day?

Do you confront greed and grow to generosity every day?

About the author

Joseph Hawking has a passion for people & leadership development and since he discovered his mom’s old typewriter as a boy, have been writing in some form or another. He is part of the Leadership for The International Mentoring Network, where he is a regular Idea Studio Facilitator and Annual IMN Conference Speaker. He believes that the highest form of living is using what you have been blessed with, to add value to other people’s lives. He has been publishing The Leadership Connexion blog since August 2018.