You’ve heard me talk before about my purpose as a CEO, and it involves three things: driving the strategy of the company, building the best possible team, and giving that team the resources to be successful. There are many things that fall under the last role, including facilitating communication and removing roadblocks so everyone can effectively do their job. But when you really boil it down, my job is to serve my employees.
In my observation, so many CEOs and leaders have it backward. They believe their job is to have others serve them. I don’t work that way. When someone comes on board with my company, they don’t work for me, I work with them. I am here to help them succeed, not the other way around.
At OneSource Virtual, we have 10 values in place that we live by. Number eight is to seek the best for others. The whole company lives by it, but more importantly, I live by it. Every day. Part of servant leadership is helping people accomplish things they couldn’t accomplish without someone else. All servant leaders should do it. Not because there is something they will gain down the road, not because they want something, but because they value people and it’s the right thing to do.
Make People Feel Significant
When I was young, directors and executives took the time to meet with me and I got the benefit of their experience. I do the same thing now. My door is open to every employee, not just those with big titles. I want the up-and-comers to know they have access to the knowledge in this building, and both I, and the other directors in the company, enjoy helping. We can’t meet with all 400 employees but we do our best to help those that ask. People are looking for a break and a chance to learn. They just need a door cracked to know they can come in.
Have a “What Can I Do For You?” Mentality
The number one question on your mind should be, “What can I do for others?” It’s about listening, caring and putting others before you. It’s also leadership by example if you will. At some point, someone made a sacrifice for you to get where you are. The question becomes, are you the kind of leader that gets to the top, and then forgets those who helped you get there? That’s ego, and there’s no value in ego. Servant leaders reach back down to help those who propped them up when they needed it.
Serve Others So They Will Give Back
It’s extremely important to invest in others. OneSource Virtual has experienced major growth ever since being established in 2008. The number one thing I am asked is what’s most exciting about leading an award-winning company. For me, it’s seeing our 400 employees grow and progress. Helping people do more than they ever thought possible. That is far more exciting than the success of the organization and it’s really what drives me.
You may be asking what the business value is in this way of thinking. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” A true servant leader is always about helping others thrive. If you start with other’s best interest in mind, you will earn their respect and trust.
Think about it. If stripped of your title, would people still follow you? Do you have respect because of your title, or because you’ve earned it? If you went to another company today, would your best and brightest people follow you? If not, you have some work to do.