Can’t Save Them All

Anyone who has taught or trained a group of individuals knows that there are three types of people that make up all groups: 1. Those who work hard, stay focused, and get stuff done; 2. Those who show up, struggle, try, and will eventually get work done; 3. Those who do very little to nothing at all and act like your time is a burden on their life. These three types of people make up our society as a whole. This means that within any given time, your company or organization employs all three of these types of people. The question you should ask yourself is, “Why do I allow those who do little to have such an impact on my time, money, and organization?” The answer is because we hope that they will change, or they will quit. In reality, neither will usually happen, and in turn, you will be wasting time, money, and energy on an individual who doesn’t belong in your company or organization.

This may sound harsh and a bit cruel, but in reality, people who are unwilling to help themselves rarely accept help from others. This means that we waste time and energy on individuals who will never accept what we are trying to do for them, because they aren’t willing to do what it takes to become better for themselves. Too many times, we allow the least productive people to take up the majority of our time. This not only creates an enabling environment for those who do nothing, but it keeps us from giving our attention and service to those who deserve it most. Why do we waste time and energy on the people who do the least for themselves or the company/organization?

Some of you might be thinking, “This doesn’t sound very selfless.” It all depends on how we define selflessness. Selfless leadership is not about enabling or allowing for bad behavior or bad work ethic. Selfless leadership is about serving those we lead through our actions and by giving our time and energy. If we are unable to do this because all of our time is focused on those two or three individuals that have little to no work ethic, then we are failing at selflessly leading those who need to be served the most; those who are working hard and doing their best for the company or organization. 

The individuals who are showing up, trying their best, maybe even making mistakes but are still willing to try again and be better, these are the ones who deserve our attention, time, and energy. These are the people who are invested and know what’s going on in the company. These are the people who have the ideas and imagination to take the organization or company to new heights. These are the people we should be serving in our leadership.

Bottom line, we can’t save everyone, and we must choose wisely into whom we put our time and energy. We need to learn to let go of those who are dragging their feet and not showing any desire to grow and be better. We need to learn to encourage and support those who are willing to invest, engage, and do their best for the company and organization. Selfless leadership is about serving those we lead through our actions and with our time and energy. We need to make sure all of these things are going to the right people. If we are too bogged down to serve those who need it most, because we are focused more on the one or two individuals who do little to nothing to help themselves or the company, then we need to make some adjustments in our team and our leadership.

As always, stay humble and serve well!  

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