Serving Specific Needs - Perception is Reality

authentic leadership disc human behavior leadership leading a team platinum rule servant leadership servant leadership definition servant leadership pactices serving others Aug 10, 2021
Servant Leadership Pactices

With a solid foundation of Defining Servant Leadership in place, we can now focus our attention on making sure we’re serving the team we’re leading in a way that really matters to them! This WILL NOT be a one-size-fits-all approach…

Before we start down that path though, I’d like to share something with you from The Servant by James Hunter. I read this book at least a decade ago and absolutely loved it. I apparently loaned it to someone hoping they’d enjoy it as much as I did. They must have because I don’t believe I ever got it back. Oh well… With my new love for listening to books on Audible at 3X the normal speed, I’ve been able to get through this outstanding parable about servant leadership twice in just the last few days. I won’t share the story leading up to this quote - you’ll need to read or listen to it yourself for that - but in chapter two, Hunter suggested that “a leader is someone who recognizes and meets the legitimate needs of their people, and removes all the barriers so they can serve the customer.” He goes on to say that “to lead, you must serve.”

Hunter went on to specify the difference in “meeting the needs” of our people and catering to their every want by saying that “Slaves do what others want; servants do what others need.” When it comes to effectively leading the teams we’re each responsible for, I believe that’s a distinction we all need to be very aware of. A want can often be short-sighted and only serve the individual rather than the entire organization. Our job as leaders is to recognize the needs of the individuals as well as the overall team we’re serving.

At face value, this may seem relatively simple. It’s not! Even if we’re completely in tune with what our department or entire organization needs in order to be successful, the real work starts when we begin working to meet the needs of each individual in the process. This is where we need to keep in mind that perception is indeed reality. It may matter very little how hard we work to serve someone if we haven’t invested time into understanding what their individual needs are and how to best communicate with them in the process! This isn’t a case where The Golden Rule will necessarily do the trick. As we move forward through the next few posts, we’ll look at some steps we can each take to make sure we’re serving our different team members in the way that means the most to them and we’re communicating that service in the language they best understand. After all, if they don’t realize we’re serving them, does it even matter?