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Servant Leadership: The Ultimate Way to Connect Effectively with Your People

July 01, 2020 Matt Rocco

As leaders, we find honor and inspiration in what we do.  However, that might not always be the case with all of our valued team members. According to a survey by Hays, 43% of people in the US claim that an inspiring corporate culture is the main reason for their search for a new job. Many people prefer to leave a job because they don’t feel valued by their immediate leader. In the book, Managing from the Heart, the authors address five-time tested habits that true servant leaders possess.  It was very encouraging to me to see how these activities aligned very nicely with Etech’s leadership character commitments.    

I encourage leaders of organizations reading this piece of writing to examine your consistency in these areas and to ask your peers to give you feedback as well.  If you need to make some improvements then get after it, the sooner the better! You will be glad that you did. 

Hear and understand

It is almost impossible to really listen to someone and not be preparing a mental response as they speak.  When we do this, we miss all that is being said!  Next time you are in a discussion with a peer, team member or customer, focus on listening to understand first, and then responding. 

Even if you disagree, don’t judge them wrongly

One thing is for certain in the fast paced world of BPO, construction and hospitality companies, etc., mistakes will be made!  Peter Luongo, the retired president of the Berry Company once told me, “You are going to make 100 decisions in a week, if you get more than 50% of them right, you are doing okay!”  The fact is that all of us will make mistakes.  Mistakes should be addressed, corrected and the learning captured.  What we must not do is judge the person.  What we have to do is coach the behavior.

Acknowledge the greatness within all

Our job as a leader is to fix what is broken.  The fact is that we spend 90% of our time fixing things.  However, it is just as critical that we find ways to recognize the greatness in others.  Greatness is not isolated to our top performers, there is greatness in everyone!  Your responsibility is to look for it and recognize it!  Maybe you have a team member who is always there on time, maybe someone who encourages others on the team when they are down, or maybe you have a team member who is great at cooking brownies or banana pudding on pot luck days.  Whatever the greatness, find it and embrace it.

Remember to look for good intentions

Unless negatively influenced by their environment, people will tend to do their best.  But remember, everybody’s best is not the same!  Great leaders understand “will versus skill”.  The will is the intention.  We can and always should work with team members who have good intentions (or will).  Even if they fail on one campaign, we have enough diversity of programs within our centers that we should be able to find them a good place on a different program. 

Tell the truth with compassion

Confrontation is a necessary part of coaching and it should never be needlessly delayed or avoided. It should, however, be conducted with genuine concern and compassion for the team member.  This can be accomplished in three basic steps. First, speak directly to the person; do not talk about them to others. Second, after addressing the behavior, listen to understand their side. Third, discuss and agree on a plan of attack to fix the behavior and then inspect daily to ensure that the plan is working. 

In order to continue to grow your business and be in a position to impact more lives, you must find a way to do a better job of keeping your good ones.  I do not believe that there is one single fix out there.  I do believe that it will take everyone in an organization being committed to doing all things (big or small) in a way that reflects the leadership commitments.  If applied, the ideas listed above will take your organization one more step ahead in the journey. 

Until next time, may you continue to make a remarkable difference in the lives of the people you touch each day.