Abandoning Self

By Michael Cavalier, TAI Incorporated

Selflessness is the act of abandoning your own desires or goals for those of another. Rarely do we see this in the corporate world. Instead, what we see is competition... literally competing against our own colleagues.

Competition in the workplace means people are working against each other and against the company – not necessarily a smart way to conduct business. Have you ever experienced the tension in a room with colleagues discussing performance ratings on a bell curve for the people on your teams? Have you ever offered a job to an internal candidate, only to find out they received a rival offer from another manager in your company?

In either case, competition ensues. Each person pushing, selling their own desires, goals, jobs or ideas. We don’t have in mind what’s best for the company. We believe we are right and will push for our own best outcomes or interests.

We are very wrong if we think this behavior is helping the company or its’ goals. However, if we exhibit selflessness and abandon our own goals and desires, we do what is best for our people and for the organization. In the big picture, that is the job of any company leader.

If we turn the scenarios above around, with a mindset of selflessness, the outcomes will be different. Even if another manager ends up with all the top performers or with that internal candidate, the outcome will have been achieved through partnership and collaboration instead of resulting in arguments, defensiveness and having to win.

Think about it: Instead of competing with fellow leaders for an individual to take your job, you sit with your colleague(s) and agree on the role that is best for the candidate and the company. That is selflessness. If we all practiced it, how much better would our company perform? How much better would we feel about conducting ourselves as a colleague, partner and leader?

Lead with a selfless attitude. Set the appropriate example for future leaders to follow. In the end, everyone wins.