In 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, a St. Louis based company Barry-Wehmiller, lost 30% of their orders due to the effects of the recession. The CEO, Bob Chapman, got together with the board of directors to discuss layoffs, and what's the very first strategy many companies used to save money; job cuts. But Bob Chapman refused to let any of his employees go because every member of his team of over 2000 plus employees, was considered family. In the end, the board devised a furlough program, through which every employee would be required to take four weeks of unpaid vacation. The creation of the program at least meant that everyone was safe, morale went up, and the company saved $20 million.
Bob is the type of CEO who always puts his people before his numbers, and feels a sense of responsibility in making sure everyone who works at his organization, feels fulfilled and engaged in the work they do.
How many CEO's out there do you know who can say that?
When you are called to lead, you are called to serve. You become the servant because leadership is all about being of service to others. A leader with a servant’s heart is a truly invaluable asset, they work tirelessly to develop his or her people, and is focused on what they can do for others. How can you develop a heart for servant leadership and how can you establish a culture of servant leadership at your company, follow these four simple steps.
Change your mindset
Robert Greenleaf, founder of the modern servant leadership movement, describes a servant leadership mindset, as one that begins with the desire to serve by meeting the needs of others. To embrace the spirit of servant leadership, you must first change your mindset and get in the habit of focusing on providing service to others. Great leaders are always seeking to improve and enhance something, or someone. This very important, to become one of the greats of leadership you must develop a habit of service to others first.
Lead by example
Most leaders know that their actions can influence how a team feels and performs. However, when leaders don’t practice what they preach, you can almost see the loss of enthusiasm and goodwill among the staff. Once a leader's character is proven untrustworthy, their ability to lead will diminish. If you want a culture of servant leadership at your organization, as the leader you must walk the talk and lead by example.
Make the environment safe
You have to give your team a safe place to share their ideas and opinions without malice, judgment, victimization, or condemnation. A servant leader must be able to listen to others, and to be very receptive to what is being said. They may not always agree, but they are very responsive to someone’s position without undermining that person.
Build a culture of leadership throughout the entire company
A company with a leadership culture expects all employees, not just those with “VP” or “Chief” in their titles, but all their people, to think and act like leaders. What separates the good leaders from the great leaders is their ability to build a culture of leadership throughout their organization that cultivates great leaders.
Bringing all together, embracing a servant leader mindset at all levels of an organization can transform any organization's culture. A leader with a heart for servant leadership must lead by example, and inspire his/her team to lose themselves in service to others. This will help their team achieve their higher calling, and propel the company to become one of the best in the world.
About Gifford Thomas
I am the founder of Leadership First and the author of The Inspirational Leader, Inspire Your Team To Believe In The Impossible. At Leadership First, we are committed to publishing the very best inspirational leadership quotes and articles to inspire our 280,000+ community of leaders to believe in the impossible, while creating an environment free from toxic, fearful and intimidating leadership. We believe everyone can and should enjoy their work, but it must start with the leadership leading by example. Follow our community of leaders HERE, and let's change the leadership status quo to help inspire and motivate our leaders to make a difference and create an organization their people will love.
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