A Leader Willing to Get His Hands Dirty

In the early years of our nation, a man in civilian clothes rode past a small group of tired and battled weary soldiers. They were digging what appeared to be an important defensive position. The leader of the group wasn’t making any effort to help. He just shouted orders and threatened to punish the group if the work wasn’t completed within the hour.

“Why aren’t you helping?} the stranger asked on horseback.

I’m in charge! The men do as I tell them,” said the leader. He added “Help them yourself if you feel so strongly about it.”

To the unkind leader’s surprise the stranger got off his horse and helped the men until the job was finished.

Before he left the stranger congratulated the men for their work, and approached the confused leader. “You should notify top command next time your rank prevents you from supporting your men and I will provide a more permanent solution,” the stranger said.

It was at this moment that the, now humbled leader recognized the stranger as General George Washington. This so-called leader learned a lesson he would never forget!

Truly effective leaders dig with the troops. Those who only desire to bark orders without getting his hands dirty, is not a leader, but a phony wanna be. People working for such a leader know and never forget. Likewise, those who have had the experience of working for a leader like George Washington, never forget their experience either.

Jesus Christ lived the greatest leadership example nearly 2,000. God in the flesh, yet He chose to get his hands dirty. He met daily with the unclean, the run of the mill citizen, the blind, lame, and outcasts of society. His pupils were fisherman, tax collectors, and common men of Galilee. These were not Harvard and Oxford grads.  His leadership caught the attention of government officials and religious leaders as well as people from many nations. His leadership also turned the world upside down and continues to influence many today.

Have you had a leader who was not afraid to get his/her hands dirty. Always jumping in to help move the organization forward? What do you remember about him/her? What’s your leadership story?

It’s not about what you think of yourself, it is, What type of leader do others say you are?