It is such a simple thing, not one that really stands out to be said or heard, but what it means and how it is perceived can likely determine what type of leader you are.

Simple words… “You and We” vs “I and Me.”


When we listen to those in leadership, what do we hear?  Depends on what type of leader you are or have.  Do they speak with what I like to call the language of “selfology.”

If we listen carefully, attentively, we can hear it more often then we think.  It does not take long to hear the words of I, me, my, mine… They are the words of taking credit. Words that “I” need to make “me” look good…  When this happens, leaders undermine not only the work but also the character and respect of others.

When voiced out loud, corporately, the stage is set for only one entertainer.  There is no need for a three-ring circus. Only one tent for the person who speaks “selfology.” Leaders who use that language are plagued with insecurity issues that keep them wanting the spotlight deserving for others.  Too many times, they have to roar, flex their muscles, let everyone know they are in charge; only to eventually have their audience slowly walk out and find somewhere else where they can be acknowledged and appreciated.

“I and Me” leaders number one mindset is to convince themselves that they are the ones who make things happen. Every day they allow their ego to get in the way for other’s successes. They are the leaders who say they have the answers. It is as though they believe that others are there for their benefit and not the other way around.

Servant leaders intentionally make a point to use “othersology” speech: we, you, our.. and they want to; from the heart and not the mind. Rather than me, it is we. Rather than I, it is you. Rather than mine, it is ours.  Why… because they do not feel threatened.  They are comfortable enough in their own skin that enables others to be in the spotlight.

Think about it this way… A great friend and mentor in my life once told me, “Unfortunately, there are those who ‘push others down’ out of petty jealousy and small-mindedness. Beware of those who look to make a name for themselves on the bones of others.”


©2018 J Clay Norton

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