Servant leadership ... and the chair incident

Grace started a couple of weeks ago as our new office manager / PA - a role we call our chief nurturing officer. She's doing great ... but there's a serious issue. She's got a better chair than me.

It's newer, bigger, more comfortable ... and it looks better. And I'm the CEO. Surely that's not right. After all, I work more hours, I spend more time sitting down, and did I mention I'm the CEO?

On her first day I was in early and thought about swapping our chairs over. I wondered if Grace had noticed which chair was at her desk when she'd been the office for the handover. I went through the conversation justifying the swap in my head. I sat in both chairs.

Then I decided to leave the chairs where they are.

We say the domain of leadership is accountable for inspiring and uniting the team. I wouldn't be inspired to work for a leader who took the best chair just because he could. And more importantly, while I might be sitting in a better chair, I'd have a little less respect for myself.

I am reading a book set in ancient Greece, and there is a description of a general, Dion, that says a lot about leadership:

He never slept softer or drier than his men, nor ate when while they were hungry; a man with gravitas (a Roman word meaning dignity of soul); incorruptible in office, flawless in personal honour.

If you are leading a team ... nothing is more important than engaging their hearts. Doing so is sacred work.