Sacrifice is another one of those hard topics that no leader really wants to talk about. Self-preservation is human nature. We would much rather not sacrifice ourselves for the good of anyone other than ourselves (or maybe a family member or two). Even though sacrifice does not come naturally to human beings, leaders must be willing to sacrifice themselves for their people.
I am not suggesting giving one’s life for an employee; this may be a bit extreme. However, what I am talking about it the willingness to allow credit, raises, and other physical goods pass over you in order to land on someone else. This topic ties very closely with my earlier post, Leaders Are Humble, and I’ll explain how.
The definition of sacrifice is “an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.” Typically, sacrifice is reserved for a more religious context, but, again, I’m not writing to sound quite that extreme. What I’m trying to convey with this thought is that we must count others as being more important or worthy than we count ourselves. This is not to say that we are worthless. Leaders are extremely important, but that extreme importance often leads to arrogance and entitlement.
Sacrifice is a necessity to build trust with another person. It is unlikely a person will trust you if you’re not willing to sacrifice something for their benefit. I don’t know what this looks like for you, but it might be time, a bit of money, or maybe doing something you don’t necessarily enjoy doing. Take some time to reflect on how you might make some sacrifices for the good of others, and watch trust build.