By Sean McDonald
I have a long history with the Boy Scouts of America. I am an Eagle Scout and have held a lot of leadership positions in the organization, both on a local and national level. and I worked on summer camp staff for several years. My best friends in the world are those I made through my involvement with Scouting.
The caption for the photo above is a quote from the founder of the Order of the Arrow, a service organization in the Scouts. The purpose and sole duty of “Arrowmen” is to serve others. It’s as simple as that. There are a variety of ways to serve, too many to discuss here. Suffice to say that every action, project, or work should be tied back to that very simple goal: to serve others.
People lead organizations from all demographics, age groups, creed, race, and backgrounds. The vast majority of these leaders are good at their jobs. Some could use an ego adjustment. A few fall into the category of “servant-leaders.”
The concept of “Servant-Leadership” is catching on. Organizations that use the philosophy often enjoy the best productivity, highest profits, and lowest turnover of employees. As a leader, who wouldn’t want those things?
Here are 3 Steps to becoming an effective “servant-leader”….
Share power. It’s not all about you. It never was, isn’t now, and never will be. Get humble. Your role as a leader is not to grab power and hoard it over people. If you’re looking for more collaboration and higher morale, empower those with whom you work to do more. You’ll get to see what they’re made of. And they’ll get to see what you’re made of.
Put the needs of others first. This can be challenging, especially in the world that screams “me, me, me.” But it is possible. More than possible, it is necessary. Recently, we are hearing about company owners or leaders making sacrifices for the betterment of their employees. One company executive recently announced that he would pay college tuition for the children of his employees. Talk about a great tactic to achieve employee loyalty! Richard Branson created an unlimited vacation program for his employees. He understands that if employees are well rested, they will be more productive and happier. You’ll have to find out which “others first” programs might work for your organization. But start to look for opportunities, right now.
Develop your people. I’ve always been baffled as to why bad leaders, including those who don’t train and develop employees, get upset when their best employees leave. It’s not rocket science. Great employees want to increase their knowledge, be prepared to take on additional responsibilities, and be acknowledged for doing awesome things. A servant-leader understands this and takes action. A servant-leader creates opportunities for the best employees. A servant-leader makes it known that he or she values professional development.
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