I was recently asked to speak to a group of professionals about servant leadership and it took me back to the first time I heard this term… “What does servant leadership even mean? So, I went out to my network and asked the question, “when you hear the term servant leadership, what is the word that comes to mind?”. It’s was one of my most engaging posts of the year, which tells me the importance of servant leadership. Some of the words included…
Servant | Selfless | Empowering | Humble | Open | Integrity | Inspiring | Gives | Investor | Mentor | Team Player | Legacy | Empathetic | Service | Rollup sleeve
It sounds so simple, right? It’s about serving others. Unfortunately, many people struggle with this concept. I often share the importance of using the 100/0 rule to practice servant leadership. I first heard about this in the book, The Compound Effect” by Daren Hardy. This rule simply states that we should give 100% to others and expect 0% in return. For example, when building relationships, we should focus on what we can do for others to help their advancement, and not worry about what we will get in return. Many people go into a situation thinking if I do this, then they should do that. This is just not effective when it comes to building relationships and serving others for success.
Early in my career, I really struggled attending networking events because I didn’t understand the importance of the 100/0 rule. I would try to engage and incorporate some of the things I was doing in my company with the conversation so the other person would know where I worked, and how we helped people relocating. I struggled and often felt like I didn’t belong in the group because I wasn’t in their same profession. However, I started making traction the day I started “leaning in” to learn more about the other person and what was important to them. I started getting a better understanding of their challenges and things that were on their minds to have better discussions and share perspectives. I stopped thinking about me and started thinking about them. Fast forward to years later, and I feel like I receive so much more that I give in my career. I have an incredible network with some of the most talented people who are the best of the best in their space, and even better… we have built lifelong friendships. The process of building these partnerships started when I committed to using the 100/0 rule.
WARNING: Maximum time and Relentless effort required.
How can we be a better servant leader? Let’s start with empathy…
Webster defines it as… the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively manner.
Empathy is really about understanding things from the other persons point of view… and not your own!
When we have empathy for others in our path from employees to business partners, we are telling them that we value what they have to say or what they are experiencing. When employees feel valued, they feel like you really care and have a true partnership in the conversation. Empathy means you care and are in the arena with them.
In Brene Brown’s book, Dare to Lead, she talks a lot about the value and importance of empathy. She shared a story about missing her daughter’s final game due to a flight delay. Her friend in the airport expressed not just being sad for her missing her daughter’s game, but followed up by asking if they won, and staying in the arena with her with a caring spirit.
The best leaders and coaches in business and life have common threads which include empathy, and a genuine love and care for their team! Satya Nadella said in his book, Hit Refresh, that “empathy is the most important skill in the workplace’.
So, here’s a question to think about this week? What are you doing to serve others in your path? What word comes to mind when you hear the word servant leadership? Write it down and share with others.
Quote of the week: “Giving starts the receiving process” Jim Rohn
Call to Action: Write down words that come to mind when thinking about servant leadership. Share with other leaders in your company and start some dialogue. When you start serving, you will be transformed for success! Share your comments below for others!
This has been A Relocation Minute on “transform to serve for success” with Bruce Waller, for more information, call