Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile – Albert Einstein

In a column for Success magazine, John Maxwell shared a story about a picture of his son taken with Mother Teresa. Maxwell had sent him to India for a month so he could see the world as it was, not how he thought it was. His son worked in food lines in Kolkata for several weeks and then traveled the country by train in coach class. At the conclusion of the trip he had a brief audience with Mother Teresa.

Maxwell said the photo serves as a reminder to see the world from multiple perspectives, make decisions with empathy, appreciate what you have and work to better the lives of people who don’t have as much. As a leader you have a worldview that merits consideration. It reflects the beliefs you have and influences the decisions you make. In the run up to 2013 here are three ways to look at life and leading through the lens of leadership.

No. 1: See the big picture. Leaders see and promote the big picture. “The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been,” Henry Kissinger said.  Getting your people to a place where they have never been begins by painting the picture and then by charting the course.  If you want to impart confidence with your team then you should regularly put forth the vision of where you are going and why others want to follow.

No. 2: Lead with a generous heart. The competency and reach of your leadership is not merely defined by your bottom line, but by a generous heart. Generosity of heart is a leadership quality that demonstrates you are not just concerned about what is good for you but how you can make life better for others.   When you look at leadership through the lens of the heart you will see things your mind never envisioned and your team will perform at levels they never imagined. When you discover the joy of serving others you have found the secret to your success as a leader.

No. 3: Serve great causes. Leading with a generous heart makes an impact internally within your organization. By this example, you are sowing the seeds of what you can do externally. Business Insider reported on the top 15 charitable companies as outlined by The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Topping the list for the past year were Pfizer, Oracle, Merck, Google, and Wal-Mart. Each of these companies' charitable contributions topped a billion dollars. Your company may not be in a position to give a billion dollars, but creating a culture of serving within your organization begins with a leader with a servant’s heart.  Make it your practice as a leader never to miss an opportunity to help someone in their moment of struggle and lift others to a higher level.

Leadership is a privilege and it creates opportunities to do great things. As you reflect back on the year that was take time to consider how you can make 2013 even better. It starts with what you see, what you feel, and how you respond.

Doug Dickerson is a nationally recognized leadership speaker and columnist. He is the author of two leadership books and is available to speak for your business or organization. Visit for more information.