by James Elliott – December 10, 2021
Do you lead like the Good Samaritan?
The parable of the Good Samaritan is told in the Bible (Book of Luke, Chapter 10). The basic story goes something like this. There once was a Jewish man walking down the road from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was suddenly attacked by a group of thieves. The man was beaten, robbed, and left for dead on the side of the raod. As the man laid there, others, including priests and nobleman, walked by, but none of them stopped to help. Finally a man from Samaria came upon the wounded man. For those not familiar with biblical history, it would be an understatement to say Jews and Samaritans absolutely did not like each other. The Samaritan took pity on the wounded man. He placed the man on his donkey and took him to a local inn. The Samaritan took care of the injured man, dressed his wounds, and even paid for his food and lodging without asking for anything in return.
There is a valuable leadership lesson when you examine the three types of attitudes displayed in this story. The first attitude is “What’s yours is mine and I am going to take it.” This is the attitude displayed by the thieves. In the modern workplace this attitude can be found by managers who take credit for the ideas and contributions of their employees in order to advance their own careers.
The second attitude is “What’s mine is mine and I am going to keep it”. This attitude is displayed by the priests and noblemen who passed by without helping the wounded man. In the modern workplace, this is the manager that hordes knowledge and accomplishments in order not only advance his career, but to also make sure no one else has an opportunity to advance from his knowledge or accomplishments. He is selfish and self-centered.
The final attitude is the one displayed by the Samaritan. This attitude can be described as “What’s mine is yours and I am going to give it.” This last attitude is display in the modern workplace as a servant leader.
True servant leaders put their people first. Their people come before customers, profit, bonuses, performance metrics, etc. As author Simon Sinek says in his book Leaders Eat Last, “The true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.”
So I challenge you. Learn to put your self-interests aside. Give generously of yourself to those who work for you. Lead like the Good Samaritan. Be a servant leader.