Recently I was on a call with a potential client and he mentioned to me that he had served in the United States Marine Core and that his two sons had also served in the Armed Services. At that point, like I would normally do, I thanked him and his family for their service. Almost immediately he then thanked me for mine. When I told him that I had never served, he quickly responded “We all serve.”
He realized that I was a bit confused by his response, so he asked me “Do I pay taxes?” And of course I said yes. Then he went on to tell me that in all his time of military service, whenever he needed anything, like a helmet, flak jacket, parts for their weapons, a new Humvee, training, medical assistance or anything he ever asked for- no one ever responded that “he couldn’t have that” or “they couldn’t afford that” He was always provided with everything he ever needed to perform his duty.
I thought about this and how it pertains to those in leadership roles. Many that have ascended to a senior position in their respective organizations have done so because they served and did their jobs extremely well. It’s because of this ability to serve that they are tapped on the shoulder and asked to become a leader.
The challenge is that a leader is still asked to serve, but in a completely different way than they have been accustomed. A new or existing leader’s role is to serve those that are out there doing the work that they once performed. The main focus now is to ensure that their teams have everything they need to do their jobs and serve at the highest levels.
Often times new leaders become so uncomfortable in their bigger roles that they can actually do their teams a disservice by taking away responsibility. Being out of our comfort zones causes us to revert back to what we’ve always done. In this case it’s doing the work you are now tasked with leading others to do. If you have ever been “micro-managed” then you know exactly how this feels. It’s easy to understand how this creates confusion and conflict for the teams they’ve been asked to lead. This confusion can be mistaken for lack trust, and lack of clarity in roles and responsibilities making it harder for their teams to serve.
The main job of a leader is to serve their teams, not by doing their work, but by enabling and empowering others to do their work better.
How can leaders best serve their teams?
Start off with clarity– What is it that you want your teams doing on a consistent basis. What is the goal and objectives that you have set for the team? How have you effectively communicated those outcomes?
Provide them with the tools– What does your team need to perform and serve at the highest levels? How are you ensuring that your team is well equipped with everything that they need to be successful? What obstacles can you help remove for them to serve and do their jobs?
Give them the Training the Need– In order for anyone to be successful they are going to need the training that allows for the best outcomes on a consistent basis. Hard skills, soft skills, medium skills, everyone on the team is at a different level and every level requires a new level of skill to train for and eventually master.
Create a motivating Environment– While I do not believe that we can motivate someone that isn’t interested in being motivated, leaders can certainly demotivate their teams. By building a supportive motivating environment that allows for team members to learn, grow, and achieve, strong leaders provide the necessary ingredients to create a motivating work culture.
Ask yourself this week:
How are you best serving your team?
What area do you need to focus upon to allow your team to serve at the highest level?
Where do you struggle to let go of an area of service that is no longer your responsibility?
We all Serve- How we serve in the roles we are in goes a long way towards the success of your organization.
Cheers to serving your teams
One Quarter Turn at a Time
Thoughts for the week:
Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. –Muhammad Ali
If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else. -Unknown
No one has ever become poor by giving. -Anne Frank
A person’s most useful asset is not a head full of knowledge, but a heart full of love, and ear ready to listen and a hand willing to help others. – Unknown