Our philosophy is that we care about people first. ~Mark Zuckerberg
Angie Morgan, leadership expert and former officer in the United States Marine Corps, details in the book Spark an incredible story of where she was put first while in The Basic School, learning to be an Officer of Marines. Essentially, after the death of a loved one, her captain went above and beyond to ensure that every little detail was covered and taken care of for Angie, all prior to breaking the devastating news to her, which is custom for a captain to do. She explains that at that moment she learned “…to be a leader you can be tough, you can be aggressive, you can have demanding standards–but if you can’t be compassionate, empathetic, and caring, you’re never going to build a team of people who feel valued and connected.” Service-based leaders put their organization and their people ahead of themselves. They embrace the notion that to truly reach for and exact the vision of the company and live out the core beliefs, the people must feel valued and appreciated through the actions of the leader.
Challenge Question: How are you putting people’s needs above your own?#2 — Clear Priorities.
The overwhelming reality is: we live in a world where almost everything is worthless and very few things are exceptionally valuable. ~ Greg McKeown
Ray Wang is the CEO of Constellation Research and the author of Disrupting Digital Business. He calls for companies to flip their thinking about priorities to include “strategic differentiation.” He tells HBR readers that priorities can “create game changing transformation” when we adopt social enterprises. Wang doesn’t say these “social enterprises” have to be service-oriented projects, but in a service-based leadership model, we believe that one of the differentiated priorities should be “giving.” Making contributions outside of your traditional priorities will improve the spirit of the organization and the passion that people have for doing the work. Simple examples include philanthropic endeavors to raise funds for charity. More sophisticated approaches are to organize a group for a Saturday soup kitchen volunteer experience or even giving people time off (trading work time) for volunteer efforts that are pre-determined by the organization. In any case, differentiating priorities to include something that is philanthropic and outside the traditional scope of work will instill a positive attitude and sense of pride that are also part of this model for service leadership and certainly “exceptionally valuable” to the lives of people.
Challenge Question: What is your organization doing to give back to the community?#3 — Positive Attitude.
Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose. ~Lyndon B. Johnson
Having a positive attitude is a fundamental way to approach life to confirm that you are mentally available to “see” opportunities. As a leader, it is critical to move forward each day with a positive mentality. Please don’t mistake having a positive attitude for a pollyanna, blind-to-reality, view on life. As Tony Robbins says, you can’t stand in a garden and tell yourself, “no weeds, no weeds, no weeds” and expect that to prevent weeds from growing. Rather, our view of the power of positivity rests on the fact that much of our interpretation of our surroundings–the events we attend and the situations that arise in our lives–are a result of our perception. The key is being guided by positivity rather than negativity–the idea that each moment in life has the potential for greatness, not the opposite. This approach has two primary benefits: One, it requires you to be mindful of all the great things going on and not just the issues that often plague us. Two, it keeps in check how we should react to situations. As Dr. Dennis Waitley writes in The Psychology of Winning, “…it makes little difference what is actually happening, it’s how you, personally, take it that really counts” (1979). We realize that the daily grind makes this approach challenging. But as Viktor Frankl, Nazi camp survivor, reminds us: one of the last of all human freedoms is to choose one’s own attitude in any given set of circumstances (2006). The power is in the control we have over both our attitude and our effort.
Challenge Question: What steps can you take to be sure that you and others in your organization view experiences through a positive lens?#4 — Beneficial Pride.
Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need. ~ Khalil Gibran
Sometimes pride is less than beneficial. In fact, it can tear us apart, create dissent, and lead to arrogance, anger, and narcissism. But, pride can be beneficial as well. Psychology professor David DeSteno says that “while researchers long thought that all emotions inhibit self-control because they tip the mind toward valuing immediate pleasure, newer research suggests that certain emotions, including pride, do just the opposite: they nudge the mind to be more patient and future-oriented than it would otherwise be” (2016). DeSteno’s research is not specific to service leadership, but it does show that when people are proud, in the same way that when people have gratitude and compassion, they tend to see value in what the future holds. This is an important aspect of service work because it means that instilling pride in people helps them to value the efforts they’re making for others toward a better future for all of us. To evoke pride in your team, DeSteno says, leaders need to give specific praise about a measurable task. When we praise people effectively, they feel the pride needed to continue the work, persisting longer than they would without the praise.
Challenge Question: Do your people feel proud about the work they’re doing and are they future-driven about the value they add to your community?The Result Service leadership is the result of having a heart for and a desire to do for others what they might not otherwise be able to do for themselves. It creates a greater sense of community, and it works for the betterment of our society as a whole. The greatest service is the giving of oneself to realize a world that we believe in and that we work toward. Service leaders support, develop, and build people through The 4 Ps of Service Leadership. That’s our #SH302 model for Service Leadership. When you put people first, have clear priorities, work with a consistently positive attitude, and generate beneficial pride, you’re a service leader. If you want stronger service or servant leaders in your organization, don’t hesitate to contact us, we can help. Let us know what you think of this #SH302 post with a like, follow, or comment. Find us on Twitter, YouTube, iTunes, Facebook, & SoundCould. And if you want one simple model for leading better and growing faster per month, follow this blog by entering your email at the top right of the screen. TheSchoolHouse302 is about getting to simple by maximizing effective research-based strategies that empower individuals to lead better and grow faster. Joe & T.J. Daschler, J. (1977). Service vs. servant: Attitude makes the difference. Golf Business. DeSteno, D. (2016). The connection between pride and persistence. Harvard Business Review. Frankl, V. E. (2006). Man’s search for meaning. Boston: Beacon Press. Greenleaf, R. (1977). The servant as leader. Indianapolis, IN: Robert K. Greenleaf Center. It’s our promise to protect. (n.d.). Retrieved March 01, 2018, from https://www.airforce.com/mission/vision Morgan, A., Lynch, C., Lynch, S., & Smith, F. (2018). Spark: How to lead yourself and others to greater success. New York: First Mariner Books. Morgan, A. & Lynch, C. (2017). How the U.S. Marines encourage service-based leadership. Harvard Business Review. Waitley, D,. (1979). The psychology of winning: Ten qualities of a total winner. New York: The Penguin Group. Wang, R. (2015). To jumpstart growth, flip the company’s priorities. Harvard Business Review.