What It Means To Be A Servant Leader
Business View – November 2020 / Guest Column
by Brad Israel, Chief Leadership Officer, 68 Venture LLC
At our family of companies, we believe in servant leadership. From our perspective, the concept of success goes well beyond job descriptions and goals. We must pour into another to help them be successful so they may grow and develop.
Robert Greenleaf defined servant leadership this way: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then, the conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
If you lead by serving others first, then you will inspire a call to action for them to do the same. Our purpose statement is “to see all we can do with all we have been given,” meaning we must all be good stewards of the influence we carry in a community and within our own companies. Positive energy is just as contagious as negative energy.
A belief system and best practices centered around service over self both enhances the lives of our fellow society members and helps us create a more caring environment. A mentor of mine, Gen. Sam Wilson, who would have turned 97 on Sept. 23, used to always tell me, “Take care of the people, and the people will take care of you.” We must be intentional with this. Things will not happen without a desire to serve and the steadfast effort that must go into it. Care and empathy are powerful; they are fueled by courage.
So what does this mean for you?
As we approach the end of a tumultuous year full of stress, anxiety, divisiveness, election cycles and the like, we still get to have an opportunity to find a way to serve others. Our community needs each one of you to serve in some capacity.
If you are a business leader, I challenge you to support this initiative by demonstrating your actions and going first. Remember, that is what authentic leaders do: we model the behavior we would like to see in others.
By you, getting to do this, you empower your teams to know that they can do the same. In fact, you encourage it. Every company can go out and talk about making money, but how many of you can talk about making meaning as well? What do you want your legacy to be? You still get to make that choice.
Remember, it is the small, seemingly insignificant things that we choose to do each day that will ultimately achieve the compounding effect in our lives. Just a few examples include bringing someone a meal, volunteering with a nonprofit you’re passionate about, donating food or clothing to groups that collect and distribute, helping build, restore, clean up a house or our parks, supporting veterans initiatives or mentoring at-risk youth. And before we start the self-justification on why we can’t do it this year, yes, all of these actions can still be done while social distancing.
Hundreds of opportunities exist throughout our community. Envision it, plan it, schedule it, then go out and do it. I can promise that you will not regret serving others. In fact, you might even enjoy it.
What will you choose?
About the Mobile Chamber
The Mobile Chamber is a private business organization with more than 1,700 members and the economic developer for the City of Mobile and Mobile County. The Mobile Chamber’s focus is to provide members with networking, marketing and professional development opportunities, expand jobs in the area, develop the local workforce, advocate legislative priorities and offer resources to help small businesses grow. Additional information is on the Chamber’s website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.