Generosity comes in many forms. You can be generous with money, time, talent, or many other areas in your life. What drives generosity? Must there be an abundance in your life before you can be generous? How do you learn to become a generous leader? Here are a few things to think about.
1) Generosity begins with being grateful for your station in life. If you are reading this, it means that you have wonderful things in your life for which you should have gratitude. You have a means to pay for internet access, you have access to technology to be part of the digital world, you have been taught to read and comprehend. Most of you will have close family and friends…people who care for and about you. Take the time to consider things for which you are and/or should be grateful.
2) Put people first. I know that in my hectic life, I can get lost in my immediate circumstances and surroundings. It is important to break away from the focus on yourself and find ways to serve others. An act of service does not need to be big, and should not focus on drawing attention to yourself. Try sending a note of encouragement to someone who is on your mind right now.
3) Do not allow the desire for possessions to control you. First and foremost, live within your means. If you find your desire for possessions outpaces your ability to pay, one of two things are likely to happen. Debt will become a burden that weighs down every aspect of life, or bitterness will creep in because you believe you should have something that is out of reach.
4) Regard money as a resource. There is a strange principle with money, but it seems that if you hold it too tight, it will allow bitterness, greed, and self-centered desires drive your decisions. Clearly, in our economy you need money to engage with life. The availability of money in your life should have an influence on your decisions, but let it not be the final arbitrator as to whether or not you will be generous towards those you lead and care about.
5) Develop a habit of giving. It is uncommon, that if someone is not generous when they have little, that a switch will go off in their lives and they will automatically become generous when there is abundance. Giving is a habit that is developed and matured over time. Just like all other leadership skills.
So, here are some questions to ponder
Are you a generous leader?
Do you continually look for ways to add value to others?
To whom are you giving of your time?
Are you pouring your life into others?
Are you helping those who cannot repay you in return?
A few years ago, I was struggling with some significant issues in my life. I did not have the means to pay for counseling or a life coach. I sought out Christian counseling that was of no cost, but these organizations were so inundated with others they were helping, they did not have any availability for 6+ months. So, I reached out to an old friend, who had been a manager/leader for me in a past occupation. This friend graciously agreed to meet with me once a month in a local eatery, where we would work through things in my life. We started with professional topics like leadership, and what it looks like to be a good follower. He coached me through tactical and strategical approaches to my career. Through the building of our relationship, he also encouraged me in matters outside of work. This man has been an example of true generosity in my life. I have not asked him for a dime…but I am sure he would give me the shirt off his back. I have offered to buy him coffee, and he insists that it is not necessary. This man is an example to me, of a truly generous leader!