I've always been a believe that people can't change and they will always go back to their bad habits. They are who they are and that's that! I was wrong because I was one of those people that not only needed to change but wanted to change. The combination of wanting, needing, as well as just maturing in general has given me the ability to see things differently. A little back story before I dive in and please give me your feedback it would be much appreciated. Thank you
Growing up in a family business that was (and still is) extremely toxic I learned a lot of bad habits and just learned things that weren't normal. Don't get me wrong I learned a lot about business and how to make money and all the basics. The one thing I didn't learn is how to be a leader and communicate to people. I could (and still can) sell pretty much anything to anybody I know how to form that relationship with a customer or client. The problem I had is I learned how to management in such a way that people worked in fear instead of wanting to be there for the success of the company. I was brought up thinking that they needed me more than I needed them and they were all replaceable!
I was fortunate enough to get out of the family business over five years ago and what a difference it has made not just in my professional career but as well in my personal life. Sadly, it took some time after leaving though to realize I was doing it wrong! When I was fortunate to own my own business with over 20 employees I could communicate my message but I didn't translate it through my actions. I lost a lot of good employees because I wasn't acting like a leader and teaching or coaching them; I was managing them. It wasn't until the last year of our business we had an investor who always said, "servant leadership" and it never really hit me what he said until after we closed and it was too late. After we closed the Bakery I started doing the one thing I never really enjoyed doing and that was reading. I needed to make a change in my life I lost everything the bakery, my marriage, our house, friends, and even my pride. I turned to reading as an outlet and just gave me a whole new perspective on everything. I averaged one book a week and now two a week.
One thing I've noticed across many of the books I have read is Servant Leadership. I was fortunate to work for a company where the owner lived this and because of that individuals in the company bought into his vision and the company continues to grow because of it! Serving your team is beyond rewarding for several reasons. One of the main reasons to me is because when you serve your team and make sure your team is successful it will reflect you as a leader. Communicating with your team and letting them know you are there to serve them and help them become successful is rewarding in its own way. Helping others reach their goals both personally and professionally has brought great joy to life over the last year. When I was let go from my previous employer I called my team to tell them, I told them even though I don't work here anymore I want you guys to still call me and seek my help if you need it because I want them to be successful.
The last two week I was fortunate enough to be working a seasonal job I've had down in West Virginia as a white-water rafting guide. The manager called me and said the Boy Scouts Jamboree was in town for the next two weeks and they needed guides to take them down the river. From years past I've heard a lot of complaints from other guides about the boy scouts and how taking them down the river was such a pain but let's be honest we are getting paid to be on a river all day! Any way the last two weeks were awesome, not just from being on the river all day every day for two weeks but because I had an opportunity to tell my story to roughly two trips a day, so about 18 scouts each day. We talked about servant leadership and what it meant to them and how they can better serve their communities and even those on their team. The scout leaders in the raft were thoroughly enjoying the conversations as little did I know until the last day of trips that this was a running theme through the camp the last two weeks which just made it that much better!
My challenge to you is this, what can you do today to better serve your team? If you don't know ask your team, just even asking your team will show your team you're there for them. If you would like to learn more about servant leadership or just talk about what you can do to better serve your team or become a better leader please reach out to me at Shannon@shepherdsconsultinggroup.com or 717-756-5481.