Serve the people around you and the community in which you work. That is servant leadership.
When I think of a servant leader I think of Dean Smith. He always looked for ways to serve the people around him – his assistants, his players and his community.
In the 1960s as an assistant coach at UNC, Coach Smith and his pastor took an African American student to a local restaurant to help desegregate Chapel Hill, NC.
After each season Coach would meet with his seniors to discuss their future plans. For players going to the NBA, Coach would set up meetings with agents and financial planners. He would call NBA front offices to promote his players before the NBA Draft. When the players made it to the NBA Coach would often call on their agents and financial planners to make sure they were doing the right thing for HIS players.
Players that weren’t going to play professional basketball would get his support in landing their first job out of college.
Every year Coach would send all his former players the UNC Media Guide with a handwritten note.
The ultimate servant moment occurred AFTER Coach Smith passed away. He sent everyone of his former players, approximately 150 players, a check for $200.00 with a letter stating that we take our families out to dinner on him. Wow!
What was the result of Coach being such a terrific servant leader? Loyalty! All of his players loved him and worked hard to please him. He was truly a father figure.
The questions you should ask yourself as a leader:
What are you doing to serve your people?
How can you make their jobs and lives better?
Do you spend quality time with your people?
Do you know the names of their spouses and children?
What are the fears and concerns of the people around you?
What are the goals and motivations of your team?
People are the most precious resource every leader has. It is our job to serve them. It is actually the most selfish thing we can do because the returns we get from being a servant leader are immeasurable.
Learn & Grow!