While putting myself through college many years ago, I worked as a server in a couple of casual dining restaurants. Except for the occasional patron that “forgot” to leave a tip and the long odd hours, I loved that job! The satisfaction I got from serving others and seeing my guests having a great experience was very rewarding. Shortly after college, I started my insurance career in claims. Once again, I was serving people and loving it. You may be asking what all this has to do with leadership? The answer – service! I view leadership as a service opportunity. Every day I get to come to work and serve my team. So what does it take to implement service leadership or what is more commonly known as servant leadership? Several necessary traits come to mind:
- You need to genuinely care for those you work with and their well-being inside and outside of the office.
- Servant leadership involves listening, understanding, and empathy.
- It takes self-awareness to recognize how your attitude and behavior as a leader influence those you interact with.
- Servant leadership demands patience and encouragement of your teammates.
Why should you consider adopting servant leadership? Several benefits exist:
- Servant leadership is a great way to help develop those you lead.
- Team members are empowered which can lead to increased engagement and innovation.
- Servant leadership leads to heightened teamwork and morale.
- When you display an attitude of service, your team will mirror your actions by serving those they interact with.
- Satisfaction in knowing that you are developing future leaders that will share and perpetuate a culture of service.
Servant leadership is a natural fit for what we do at Central. We are in the service business by serving our policyholders, agents, partners, customers, and each other. Servant leadership embodies our core values of Integrity, Relationships, and Excellence. When we lead through service, these core values are on display, encouraging others around us to share in an attitude of service.
I have just scratched the surface on what it takes to be a servant leader and benefits that can be gained. One of my favorite books on servant leadership is The Carpenter by Jon Gordon. It is a fast read and shares a powerful story on the value of servant leadership. A quick Google search will bring up many other articles, blogs, and books if you are interested in learning more about servant leadership and what it can do for you and your team.
I would love to hear what servant leadership means to you and if you use it, how it has impacted you and those you lead.