Giving Back and Servant Leadership
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. - Benjamin Franklin
If you have not guessed it by the title, servant leadership is more about giving back than it is the actual act of leading. Growth is one of today's topics and it is not just personal growth although that is important, it is about helping others grow. Whether it is job growth, personal growth, or educational growth it is about helping others to get the growth they need. Let me ask you this; do the people around you believe that you are committed to their growth and development? If they don't see or feel it you need to change your approach, and if you are not sure don't be afraid to ask but, be careful you may not like some of the answers. I am told all the time that I see the best in people and I can believe they can do something almost more than they do. Now that could be both good and bad, good because it gives the other person hope, but bad because in my case I want to push harder that they tend to be ready for. I have learned to control my expectation and zeal (although it is still there) and really listen to what the needs and wants are, then developing a plan they are comfortable with.
The next trait is that of healing. You may not be a doctor or a licensed therapist so leave that sort of advice to the professionals. What you can do though is be the ear that hears and the shoulders that can hold someone up, offer personal experiences that can relate and how you dealt with the situation. Helping someone heal as I said is not always medical in nature. Emotional healing is harder in my opinion so empathy and listening play a major part in helping someone heal. Yes, it can be challenging but you will have someone who will value you for life. A few years back I was dealing with some challenging situation already then my dad died suddenly from a brain aneurysm after completing cancer-related radiation treatments. I was a complete mess, my boss at the time was already a nice guy (our office felt like a big family) but I came in after a few days off and he just gave me a hug and I lost it blubbering all over his suit, I felt bad about that. But the fact that he offered kind words and empathy, meant the world to me, especially at the time. I will never forget and be grateful for his support.
Are you or your organization community-focused? If not you should be. having a strong community focus tells people not only that you care but that you want to make it a better place by putting in the work. There has been a volunteer organization that my husband and I have helped support for years and they are amazing, doing work globally, they are making a difference by changing lives, the problem is we do not do a lot locally. So as a company we decided to support our first responders more specifically a local police department. My husband became one of their volunteer chaplains and I cook for them, ride along with some of the women offering support and encouragement whenever I can. I love what we do with them and I can see the impact we are making, as our company grows we will continue this line of support in the other counties we service as well.
How well do you anticipate the needs around you? Foresight is our last topic for today but it is an important one. Foresight is taking all of your experiences and projecting the possible future outcomes. My example as elementary as this will sound will demonstrate the point. Taking my past experiences of poor time-management and lack of confidence I should have had the foresight not to invest a lot of money in an MLM company that required presentations in order to succeed. I had the biggest fear of speaking in front of more than three people that doing a demonstration in front of a houseful should have been a giant red flag for me. Nope, my logic was that it would help me with public speaking and make a little extra money. Despite my husband having the foresight but also wanting to be supportive I tried and failed (in my eyes). Moving forward 20+ years the fears are not the same and I consider my strengths and weaknesses before making any personal or business decisions now, I now use foresight and I help my clients when we are discussing their goals and planning their future we look a little at their past to shed some light and help them learn about having foresight.
Leadership is not the easiest of jobs and servant leadership is not necessarily easier but it makes your life a bit more joyful. I am here to answer your questions, encourage you and give you all the help I can in order to help you become the successful leader you want to be. Next week we will talk more about some other of the actual characteristics of servant leadership and how to put them into practice. Be sure to listen to the accompanying podcast and subscribe so you know when we release a new episode. You can listen on Anchor, Google Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic and Breaker.
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