Helping Them Achieve Results

authentic leadership human behavior leadership leadership culture servant leadership servant leadership practices serving others Aug 10, 2021
Servant Leadership Practices

I remember seeing a Marriott commercial a while back that closed by saying something along the lines of “we treat our guests like we’d want to be treated.” Ties right in with what nearly all of us know as The Golden Rule, huh? Around that same time, a friend of mine had shared something he experienced while on vacation with his family. For one reason or another, the hotel they were staying at for an entire week had made a mistake with their reservation, booking them in one room for the first half of the week and a different room for the second half of the week. Since it was peak season and the place had no other vacancies, there was no way to keep them in the same room all week long.

At check-in however, the staff member assured my friend that the hotel staff would handle the move from room to room for them in order to minimize the disruption his family experienced. The staff member even told him that’s what they would appreciate if the same thing happened to them… My friend is a relatively private person so he politely declined the offer and assured the staff member that he’d take care of the move himself but did request that he could stay in the first room until the second was actually ready rather than checking out of one at 10a and being without a room until after 2p when the normal check-in time began. All seemed to be resolved…

When the day arrived for my friend to move all of his family’s stuff from one room to the other, he received a call from the front desk saying that they had scheduled someone to take care of it for him so he could enjoy the time with his family. Again, he declined. He packed up all of their things and loaded it onto one of those carts that are impossible to steer and proceeded to do some work from his laptop in the room while the rest of the family went down to the beach. While waiting for the call that the other room was ready, he got a text from his wife asking him to bring her something she had forgotten. Since he could see her from the room and it would only take a few minutes, he did. When he got back, the cart with all of his things was gone. Someone from the hotel staff got to the room while he was out and took everything to the new room!

Although the hotel staff members were trying to serve him like they’d want to be served, my friend was extremely frustrated (this is the G-Rated version of the story). He valued privacy and they had violated that even after he had expressed that to them multiple times!

In The Servant, James Hunter suggests that “Leaders should identify the NEEDS of their people in order to serve them.” When the needs that my friend expressed were ignored, even though it was likely not intentional, he felt anything but served! And let’s be honest, we just can’t serve everyone one our teams the same way or we’ll end up violating some of them at times too…

As we consider the most effective way we can serve our team members with the first of the four primary behavioral styles, the ones who are Fast-Paced and Task-Focused, we’d do well to look at how we can invest our energy into helping them achieve results. While this DRIVEN group only represents about one out of every ten people we interact with, the sheer amount of activity we see from them can trick us into thinking there’s more of them than there really is. If we attempt to jump in and take over, they will likely be offended because they value having some level of control. They won’t need much praise either, unless it’s directed at how hard they’re working or how much they’ve accomplished to that point. If we want to provide servant leadership to this group of DOERS, all we really need to do is make sure we’re providing them with the resources they need, setting the right expectations for what the end result needs to be, and then allowing them to maintain as much control as we can.

All that said, serving the next primary behavioral style will look quite a bit different so we’ll take a look at that soon...