Listen For the Sound of Serving

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Every once in a while, I am struck by what a great place I work at. As I walked down the hall recently, I saw a sales VP walking with an accounting person, asking him questions about something the accounting person needed and promising it would be provided by “Monday or sooner if he needed it.” (It was Friday afternoon.) The accounting person thanked him profusely. What stood out to me in this simple exchange was that there was no sense of seniority or rank. The sales VP had something the accounting person needed and there was no holding back, no playing games, no moving of the chess pieces. It was a simple person-to- person exchange.  

Is it that simple at your company? Or is every exchange of this nature a power struggle? In a servant-led organization where everyone is trying to add value, there is no room to hide behind rank or job title.

Over the past 12 years of living with a servant leader perspective, this kind of interchange has reinforced some key concepts for me, concepts I try to live day-to-day. I want to share them with you today.

Everyone’s role is important. We either all win together or we lose together.  Your org chart is simply a communication tool so people know who to go talk to over an area of responsibility. Art Barter, my leader, would say, “throw away the org chart! Everyone should be treated with the same dignity and respect.”

If you have something, share it. Knowledge kept to yourself is not worthwhile. Knowledge shared lifts everyone up. If you want to achieve results and find significance in your life, share the knowledge you have. Strong, effective teams are built when people are open with one another and don’t feel threatened because someone wants to know what they know.

If you need something, ask for it. In my example, the accounting person was not intimidated by the title “VP”; he needed some information and he asked for it. He felt safe in doing that because of the culture that has been built and nurtured in the organization. Many times, people sit back and wait for information to come to them before they take action. In a servant-led company, people will lose the “victim” mentality, step out of their comfort zone and ask for what they need. The reward is quicker processes and the building of relationships between departments – always a good thing.

Interested in improving your company culture? The next time you walk around  your place of business, listen very carefully. What kind of exchanges do you hear? Self-serving or servant-led?

Let us know what you hear. Email us.