According to Forbes, in 2006, Warren Buffet announced that over the next 20 years he would donate $30 billion in stock to the Gates Foundation. This is a staggering amount of money only to be matched by Bill and Melinda Gates themselves. Have you ever witnessed that kind of generosity, or do you aspire to that level of giving yourself?
Few us will ever have the resources or influence to make that kind of financial impact in the world.
A couple of years ago I worked with a colleague who would go out of his way to help a new team member who was struggling to learn a task on our team. He would stay late to help him catch up and put off some of his own projects in the process. He was one of the most generous leaders I knew—generous with his time, talents, and resources.
Have you ever had a generous leader like that – someone who was inherently generous in their spirit with all aspects of their life?
Generous leaders inspire me to be a better version of myself. I frequently recognize this in people I have the privilege of connecting with both in my professional and personal life. This kind of generosity has nothing to do with money.
Generous leaders have the following characteristics:
1. When they ask about how you or your family are doing, they actually listen to your answer. That’s the ministry of presence
2. They slow down to open the door for you so you can enter the room before them. This symbolizes their desire to put others before themselves
3. They stay late in the office to help you with your project approaching its deadline
4. They do the right thing in a situation regardless of the cost to them or their agenda
5. They have an openhandedness with their knowledge and resources
6. They are others-focused, not self-focused
7. They are less hurried and more present in daily interactions
8. They desire a greater good for their team
9. They see the preferred future versus what is right in front of them
10. They make intentional eye contact
11. They never expects anything in return
12. They aren’t judgmental or critical in nature
13. They create a culture of hospitality by having a warm and inviting spirit around their team
All of us can strive to be generous leaders in both personal and ministry contexts. I understand that sometimes good intentions and circumstances conflict, and we can’t be all things to all people at all times.
However, whenever possible, I desire to be a more generous leader both personally and professionally. Generous people are happier and more content. I believe that when we give a little, we ultimately gain a lot.
Are you generous with your time and talents? Are you present in conversation? When was the last time you stopped to put a team member’s agenda above your own?
Jesus said it first: If you want to be great, serve.
What are ways you can be generous and serve the people around you in your leadership role?