Is Your Team Being Served? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 1

Is Your Team Being Served? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 1

Often under rated leadership qualities that are truly next level.

 

One of my all-time favourite true leadership stories is this one……

 

A group of soldiers and their commanding officer were delivering a wagon full of supplies to their regiment.  It was a glorious day in the forest – sunlight was filtering through the canopy above – the sounds of the horses pulling the wagon were the only noises that disturbed the quiet of the forest on this Summer’s day and the soldiers were basking in it.

 

All of a sudden, there was a loud crack and a rush in front of them – a decent size tree had fallen across their path, blocking their way.  The soldiers got down from the wagon and proceeded to try and move the tree off the path, and they struggled with no success, all the while their Corporal was standing away at a distance yelling orders for them to work harder.

 

After a little while, a sole rider came by, and surveying the situation asked the Corporal, “Why don’t you help your men?”

 

To which the Corporal replied, “I’m their Corporal, it’s not my job.”

 

After hearing this, the rider dismounted his horse, promptly removed his jacket and proceeded to help the soldiers move the tree from the path.  The soldiers were extremely grateful for the riders assistance.

 

The rider, while mounting his horse said to the Corporal, “The next time you require assistance to move something heavy, call your Commander in Chief”, and then he continued on his way.

 

It was in that moment that it dawned on the Corporal and the soldiers exactly who the man was who’d helped them – it was the first President of the United States, and their Commander in Chief, George Washington. (Source)

 

A pretty powerful story.  No doubt George Washington made a huge impression on those men by that simple action, and one that I’m sure they not only dined out on for many years to come, but one that taught them something valuable about leadership (I hope!!).

 

Leadership is all about servanthood. Ever since the great leader, Robert K Greenleaf, penned the expression “Servant Leadership” back in 1970, there has been a growing ground swell of support for this style of leadership – putting your team before yourself – you lead because you serve and you serve because you lead.

 

This goes against a more traditional view where the people of a business or organisation are there for the sole purpose of serving the leader and serving the business.

 

When people lead by title or entitlement, this is the lowest level of Leadership.

 

The product is not the product, the product is your people.  You can’t do anything great on your own and it’s your people who help you create your product and achieve your success.  The central belief to Servant Leadership is that by looking after your people, showing you care and by growing them, they thrive as people and as team members, becoming really engaged with their role and the mission of the business. And as a result, your business performance lifts, and lifts way more, I believe, than under traditional leadership.

 

The moment you take your eyes off looking after your people, you will start to lose your way.

How are you serving your people?

 

In the next few articles, I want to focus on some highly effective servant strategies that’ll help you serve your people at a much greater level and this my friend, will help you grow your business.  Some you might do already, some you might not do ……yet……..

 

Ok, to kick things off, let me begin with a more obvious way you can serve your team, and that is deliberately taking time to show your team that you care for them – for not only their professional life, but also their life outside of your business.

 

My mentor Jim always said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”   

 

The level of engagement, loyalty and trust you receive back when you take an interest in each team member and you invest resources to grow their thinking and grow their professional skills, will skyrocket.  If you want to take your business performance to the next level, then this is a powerful leadership strategy that is readily at your disposal, that you should give serious consideration to.  Don’t put this one on the back burner until later.  Schedule some one on one time with your people now if you haven’t already done so and check in with them!  For example, ask how they’re going.  Ask them how life at home is. Ask them how they’re going in their role and is there anything you can do to help them? Work out a plan together to grow them in their role.

 

What could you do better to make the people you lead know that you genuinely care for them and their success?

How do you grow your people?  Do you have a plan to do this?

Do you care about their work/life balance?   

Do you care about what’s going on in their life?

 

Another highly effective way you can serve your people is to really listen to them and not talk.  And sometimes, as the leader, as the boss, it’s hard to do this!

 

Stephen Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

 

So true.  And when someone actually really does listen to us, the effect on us is profound.  We’re taken aback a little as it’s unexpected and, as a result, our impression of that person increases and we start to trust them a little more than others.  As this process continues over time, trust grows and the relationship builds as a result. And I’ll wager a bet that you’ll do more for that person than those who don’t really listen to you.

 

Do you truly listen to your people?

 

Dean Jackson has been quoted saying, “Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, and others over self.”

 

Being an effective leader doesn’t mean you have to come up with all the answers all the time.  The people you surround yourself with will, more often than not, have great ideas!  And when you ask for their thoughts and truly listen to them, not only are you showing them respect, you build trust and loyalty with that team member and grow their engagement with the mission of your business, and that’s priceless!

 

Just a last note on this point, it’s way more powerful if you take your meeting off site sometimes, like at your home, or theirs – it makes a big impression when you take the time to do this and it has a tremendous impact on your key people.  It doesn’t get more personal than your home and it goes a long way to building relationships, trust and loyalty, and quite often, this will lead to people opening up about things they might not have otherwise, that will help you lead your business more effectively.

 

I recently read about a true story of a man who oversaw hospitals across the south eastern region of the US and he had a particular CEO under his leadership who was having a difficult time with one of his surgeons. The surgeon however, was the highest earner for the hospital, so negotiating with him was proving extremely tough.  The man visited the surgeon at his home one day and among other things, he quickly learned that his dog was the centre of his life and he had a major passion for all things canine.  And, after taking a great deal of time talking with the surgeon about his demands and his willingness to reach an agreement, the man asked the surgeon how often the CEO visited him at his medical practise.

“Never” the surgeon replied.

 

The man asked if the CEO had been to his home.

“Nope”

 

The man then went back and asked the CEO if he’d been to the Surgeons practise.

“Regularly” was the response.

What about his house?

“Yes, I’ve been to his house”.

“What’s his dogs name?”

Of course, the CEO couldn’t answer.

 

The surgeon had become a resource to manage rather than a valuable team member whom which to listen to and to serve.

 

How could you improve the way you listen to your people?

When was the last time you asked them for advice?

When was the last time you truly took an interest in their life outside of your business?

 

Nothing will help a Leader if they don’t take the time to listen.  I truly hope the CEO listened to the advice his area manager gave him that day.

 

Are you listening?

What aren’t you hearing?

 

Alright, that’s a wrap for today.  I hope like me, that you’re now spending some time on how you can better serve your people as the leader.  If you’re already doing this, that’s awesome! I’d love to know what you’ve found effective with your own team.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I trust it helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!  Keep climbing!

 

Coxey.

 

I talk further about this in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.

 

Coxey Live – FLITU- The Importance Of Loyalty

Coxey Live – FLITU- The Importance Of Loyalty

LOYALTY.

It’s easy to be loyal when things going great but are you loyal in tough times?

Loyalty is a key ingredient for success.

Who are you committed to?

Are the people you surround yourself with loyal to you?

 

Check out my latest FLITU article: “Without “L” There is No Chance for Success”

 

I talk more about this topic in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.  If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy , click here.  It’ll be all yours!

Coxey Live – The Problem is not the Problem.

Coxey Live – The Problem is not the Problem.

Often, the problem you have isn’t the problem you think you have. Highly effective leaders ensure they dig below the surface of the problem to ensure they know exactly what they’re dealing with.

 

Check out my latest article on The Problem Is Not The Problem

 

I talk more about this and much more in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.  If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy , click here.  It’ll be all yours!

 

Coxey Live – Achieving Your Vision

Coxey Live – Achieving Your Vision

To achieve the vision you have for yourself in business and in life, there are some critical things that you must do when leading your team.  Without them, you won’t achieve the success you’re looking for.

 

Check out my latest article on How a Courageous 16 Year Old Girl Led an Army

 

I talk more about this and much more in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.  If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy , click here.  It’ll be all yours!

 

Lessons From a Courageous 16 Year Old Girl Who Led an Army

Lessons From a Courageous 16 Year Old Girl Who Led an Army

WANT TO ACHIEVE YOUR VISION? THIS GIRL CAN TEACH YOU A THING OR TWO…..

 

The girl ran her trembling hands over her pant legs, smoothing non-existent wrinkles in an attempt to calm her heightening nerves that were threatening to squeeze the air from her lungs.  It had taken a great deal of petitioning to be granted an audience with Charles VII, the Dauphine, heir to the French Throne and now, she had to convince him that she was the one to lead his army to victory against the English.

 

Henry VI’s men had now captured a great deal of northern France and currently lay siege to the town of Orleans, a town of strategic importance.

 

In the words of one modern historian,

 

“On the fate of Orléans hung that of the entire kingdom.”

 

 

The girl told him that she had had a vision and God told her to lead the French army and reclaim Orleans.

 

A pretty bold claim for a girl of only 16 years.

 

She also made the prediction that there would be a military reversal at the Battle of Rouvray, near Orleans.

 

Her prediction came true a few days later.

 

Needless to say, she made quite an impression on Charles and her urgent request to travel with the army and be given armour and weapons was granted.

 

It’s been surmised that after years of humiliating defeats, the credibility of French leadership was at an all-time low – every known strategy had been tried up to this point, so what harm was there in listening to an illiterate farm girl who claimed that the voice of God was instructing her to take command of the nation’s army??!

 

Despite giving this girl leadership of his army, he did like a good Dauphine should do, and conduct a thorough background check. Upon her arrival, the young girl was quickly turning the battle into a religious war, so her authenticity and integrity had to be proven beyond a doubt.  To cut a long story short, it was, and the girl was instrumental in the re-capture of Orleans, garnering her further support and loyalty within the ranks of French government, the army and the church. Not bad for a 16-year-old farm girl!!

 

The French, under the leadership of this girl, went on to win many successive battles, claiming back much land, including the town of Reims, a town deep in the heart of English occupied territory.  When they took this town, the girl convinced Charles to be finally crowned as King.  And on 17 July 1429, Charles VII’s coronation took place.  On 29 December of that year, the girl and her family were ennobled by Charles VII as a reward for all her actions.

 

In the words of Stephen Richey,

“She turned what had been a dry dynastic squabble that left the common people unmoved, except for their own suffering, into a passionately popular war of national liberation.”

 

 

Unfortunately, a few months later in an ensuing battle, the girl was pulled off her horse by an archer and was captured.  After a grossly unfair trial conducted by the English, she was sentenced to death.

 

Shortly thereafter, she was burnt alive at the stake……

 

This girl, known throughout history as Joan of Arc, was posthumously exonerated of all charges in a re-trial, and remains forever in the hearts of the French and people around the world. Her achievements leave most of us just shaking our heads in amazement and a little disbelief!  She was an incredible leader from whom we can learn much from.

 

Great leaders inspire us to achieve things we previously thought we couldn’t or didn’t even see as an option. They take us into new territory, pushing us out of our comfort zones.  Joan was an incredible source of inspiration for her people – she led them to sell out to the vision to regain their freedom from the British and do whatever it takes to achieve it – including trusting a 16-year-old girl with the leadership of the army!  (I wish I could have been in the room when she met with Charles VII the first time!). She was never swayed from her task by the initial disbelief of many – she kept true to the vision God had given her and inspired thousands to rally to her banner and do whatever it took to win.  She put it all on the line as the leader – there were many times she was carried off the battle field with injuries as she led her army in battle.

 

What do you need to be more inspirational about?

Are you prepared to do whatever it (legally) takes to achieve it?

Are your team?

Have you all sold out to the Vision?

 

 

When striving to achieve your vision, it’s also critical that you always remain optimistic, focussed on the future and seeing what’s possible, no matter what’s going on, including a battle literally raging around you, or when you’ve experienced a major setback to achieving the vision.  Your team is relying on you to lead them through and show them the way forward.  This skill is essential for you to create and maintain momentum.

 

Just because you have momentum today doesn’t mean you’ll have momentum tomorrow – momentum is fragile and precious and requires effective and optimistic leadership to build and maintain it.  Without momentum, you won’t progress.  You’ll be stuck, treading water.

 

What’s your vision?

What do you need to be more optimistic about?

Are you focussed on the future or are you focussed on past mistakes?

What could you do to create more momentum in your team?

 

 

You need extreme focus to achieve the vision.  You must not let yourself get distracted from the things you need to accomplish to achieve your vision.  Don’t let others dictate your actions – make your plans with your team and keep each other accountable to achieve them.  Plan each day ensuring you’re focussing on the things that will help achieve the vision, and don’t ‘deviate from it.

 

Increase your focus and you will increase your growth.

 

What needs greater focus right now?

What is distracting you?

 

 

Just like the vision that drove Joan, your Vision will not be achieved without loyalty.  Effective leaders understand every day that you have to earn and re earn it daily.  Just because you have loyalty today, doesn’t mean you’ll have loyalty tomorrow.

You can‘t demand loyalty, you demonstrate it and Joan did this in spades.  In fact, she was captured when she offered to stay behind to help the rear guard, when the rest of the army had retreated.  And, when she was captured, the French launched 3 rescue attempts and many political manoeuvres to try and free her all the while threatening Joan’s capture would be revenged on all who took part. It doesn’t get more loyal than that.

 

How would you describe the loyalty in your team?

What must you do to demonstrate greater loyalty to the team you lead?

 

 

For the team to rally with you as the leader, your team must know what you stand for – the absolutes in your life.  The non-negotiables. Where you draw the line in the sand.

 

What do you stand for?

What is unacceptable to you?

 

Having absolutes as the leader is critical for building trust and loyalty with your team.  When your team knows with certainty how you as the leader will respond to any given situation, it builds trust.  For instance, when they know you’ll back them even when they mess up and it comes as a personal cost to you to do so, that builds trust.  Or if they know you wouldn’t screw someone over just to get ahead, that builds trust.  And it also sets a good example for them to duplicate. Your team needs to know that your word is your word, 100% of the time.

 

Trust takes a lifetime to build but only a moment to tear down.

 

Your team will not sell out to the vision and follow you if there is not 100% trust in you as the leader and your integrity.  No trust, no influence. No achieving the vision.

 

 

Who trusts you?

Who doesn’t trust you?

Who is following you?

Who is not following you?

What do you need to have greater integrity about?

 

To grow trust, transparency as the leader is also vital.  Joan of Arc would have been under constant scrutiny in her position and she attracted many enemies (particularly among the British) who were always trying to smear her name and claimed she was working for the Devil – a highly inflammatory charge in that era.  Can you imagine what would have happened to Joan’s cause if her actions left any doubt in the mind of her people?

 

An example a little closer to home occurred just this week – I was having a coffee with a team leader in a large corporation. She was explaining how she’d recently put herself forward for a promotion at work and knew she was the most qualified candidate. However, she didn’t get the job.  Another team leader did.  She found out quickly through the grapevine that it was due to another team leader going on Maternity Leave and they needed my friend to cover her team too, otherwise they’d have two large teams without leaders for 12 months. Not good for business and my friend understood this and said she would have made the same decision.

 

But what she found incredibly disappointing was that Upper Management didn’t explain this; and they weren’t transparent. All they’ve been doing is, in her words were,

 

“Annoyingly sucking up to me so I stay. They didn’t give me the respect as a Team Leader and explain the truth behind the decision. They didn’t trust me to understand or agree… “   

 

Hhhhmm, much damage done there by a lack of transparency and trust.

 

What do you need to be more transparent about?

Do you trust your key people enough to share critical information about the business and your decisions?

 

 

I’ll conclude my blog here today.  Great leaders are readers so I thank you for taking the time out to read this.

 

I trust the story of Joan of Arc, the 16-year-old, illiterate farm girl who led her nation successfully against the British, has inspired, stimulated and agitated you to lead more effectively to achieve your vision.

 

We don’t have to be big in stature or social standing to be successful, but rather, we as leaders need to possess some important traits and behaviours as I’ve discussed today and also in my last article, A Game Changer that Fuels Your Success.

 

The road to success is never easy, so I trust we can encourage each other on our respective paths.

 

Take care.

Coxey.

 

 

I talk further about achieving your vision in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.

 

 

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_of_Arc

http://www.history.com/topics/saint-joan-of-arc

http://www.nationalgeographic.com/archaeology-and-history/magazine/2017/03-04/joan-of-arc-warrior-heretic-saint-martyr/