Why Lead When You Can Serve?
There are many different ways to approach leadership; how you lead should be based on what benefits your team. Leadership is described as the concept of a position or the function of a person who guides or directs a group. In today’s competitive industries, guiding and directing isn’t enough, as a leader you need to do more.
Servant leadership is a philosophy of leadership dating back to the 4th century B.C., when it was described as a way to lead an empire. Chanakya, an ancient Indian (South India) teacher and philosopher, wrote in the Arthashastra, a document on Indian government, economic and military policy:
“The king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]…The king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.”
Leaders must know what their teams need and serve those needs. Servant leadership is win/win. A team always needs leadership and direction but, most of all, it is the little things leaders help their team members accomplish that best serve their teams.
A great servant leader listens, has awareness, conceptualization and stewardship, and always shows empathy to their team. I was fortunate to be trained as a servant leader. That training developed me into a leader who provides direction and growth and serves the needs of my team so we all succeed.
While working at Best Buy, I led a team of up to 14 sales associates, each of whom sold differently based on their strengths. Because I took time to listen to each staff member and supply them with the proper tools and training, we constantly exceeded our department goals and won No. 1 department in the district twice.
Everyone can succeed if put into the right scenarios to allow them to utilize their strengths. It is the leader’s job to find and cater to the hidden talents of each team member. Lead your team in a way that exploits each member’s best attributes, creating successful people moving together towards a bigger goal.
When you look at how you lead, are you just leading or are you serving your team?
Adam Schomaker has been in the sales and service industry for more than 14 years, working with small entrepreneurial businesses to Fortune 500 corporations, and in the events industry from both the hotelier and event planner perspective. His consulting firm, Perpend, helps organizations focus on customer engagement and offers website development, social media consulting, brand and sales management, training and presentations. He is a 2012 Connect 40 Under 40 honoree. Reach out to him online on Twitter or LinkedIn.