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 the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.

Simon Sinek tells us something that rhythmically rolls off the tongue like something that should be cut into an inspirational poster and hung on the office wall. It sounds good. It feels good. But what does it mean? What is the ‘expense of self-interest’?

In the most simple sense — Simon is telling us this: Humble yourself. You are not important — you are not the one who needs saving or advancing. Your constant need for validation and approval and, at times, attribution and attention does not make you a leader. It makes you weak.

Leadership is given. This is why it is a privilege. It can be taken away just as any other awarded grace. Yet, still — there are those who feel entitled and expect that leadership is a given based on salary or position. Clawing and pushing, pulling and positioning to be seen as ‘in-charge’ or ‘in-control’ and any affront or attack on that image is seen as an erosion of that awarded idea.

Here’s the thing. There is much to be said about fighting for respect — doing your all to get where you need to be. This is not a bad thing. But if you are still clawing and cowering at criticisms and conflict when you are there out of fear that that ‘others’ would walk away if you let your guard down — you are not a leader. You are, at best, a convention of necessity that others tolerate.

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