A Servant Leader Emerges From Egypt

Wael Ghonim was relatively unknown to most up until a few weeks ago. When I first read about him, it was at the beginning of the protests in Egypt. At that time, he was simply a Google executive who was missing. No one from friends, family, or even Google knew where he was.

Today, he is the face of a public outcry for change. Released by the government that had detained him, a man who has never held a public office is now being called on by hundreds of thousands of people to lead Egypt into a new era of democracy.

But why?

Shouldn’t the public be looking to one of the other existing opposition parties that have political backgrounds to lead them? After all, Egypt certainly needs people with experience to help them through this chaotic transition.

The key difference is the emotion and caring Wael showed in a televised interview. It’s precisely because of this interview that the public protests were provided with new life and strengthened. Not only were people quoted as saying that they joined the protests due to Wael’s comments, but even members of the current government were quoted stating they quit their public posts to join the many citizens in Tahrir Square after seeing that interview.

When he was shown pictures of individuals who had perished since the protests started, Wael broke down in emotion. He actually cared for people who he had never met. He had this to say at the end of the interview before walking off the set:

“I want to tell every mother and every father who lost a child, I am sorry, but this is not our mistake. I swear to God, it’s not our mistake. It’s the mistake of every one of those in power who doesn’t want to let go of it.”

I’ve read quote after quote from the citizens of Egypt that said Wael is the only one who showed that he cared and apologized for those tragedies. No other political figure showed that same level of compassion.

The stark comparison here, whether you hold a position within government or as a manager in a business, is that the position of power is meant to help those underneath you. It does not exist to support self-interest.

A large group of people in Egypt believe, as do I, that Wael would be a leader of the people, putting the public’s interest ahead of his own.

Whether Wael realizes it or not, he has the makings of a servant leader.

View all part 3 of the emotional interview below. (Note that you may need to turn on closed captions, CC, on the video player to see the translation)

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