When I started my career as an IT professional, my first boss was a true trooper. He would come to work at about 7:00am every morning and wouldn’t leave the office until 6:00pm. He did this with such consistency, a clock would be jealous. Not only was he always present, he was highly skilled too. He taught his employees, including myself, new skills. He did most of the heavy lifting. A few years deep into my career, I had a new boss who delegated EVERYTHING.  It seemed like he always had something for you to do for him. He would come into the office past 8am, and sometimes, you won’t see him on his desk at 3:00pm. This was shocking to me giving the background I came from but it also reinforced in me that Leadership has to be legitimate to be respected.

A Centurion once sent Jewish elders to seek Jesus and invite him to heal his son.  The Jewish elders vouched for the Centurion, that he was worthy of any kindness from Jesus. They said he loved them and had built them a Synagogue. Because of his love and generosity, he was regarded with a lot of respect. As Jesus approached his house, the Centurion sent friends to Jesus saying he was not worthy that Jesus should come to his house. As a man of authority, he could tell his servants to do this, and they would. He did not have to be there to observe or micromanage them. Likewise, the Centurion believed that the authority of Jesus was legitimate, hence Jesus only needed to speak the world. Jesus marveled at such faith. The Centurion’s son was healed.

People can sense when you love them genuinely. Love precedes your generosity which in turn breeds respect. The legitimacy of your leadership is earned and not given. You can’t not love an employee, and expect them to respect you. They are watching. They can tell. You can’t ask your followers to do all the work while you just sit high, giving orders. As a leader, love compels you to roll up your sleeves, lean in, and do some heavy lifting yourself. Love compels you to be generous with your time and effort. Love + Generosity = Legitimate Leadership