The true role of a leader is that of a being a servant and having a servant leadership attitude. We both find that people work harder when we serve them, which in turn makes us want to serve them even more!
Rabbi Harold Kushner says, “The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and share. When you come to look back on all you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.”
Our definition of servant leadership is: Love serving others enough to slow down and empower, coach, and help give individuals direction toward their own goals. We have found that helping others towards their goals has always helped us achieve our own.
There are two types of leaders in relationship marketing: 1) a leader who builds a team and 2) a leader who creates leaders. Servant leadership lifts others up and puts a focus on developing other leaders as a team is being built. Servant leadership is essential for developing other leaders and it is worthy of being taught and duplicated.
In our respective companies, we all have the same product or service and corporate office. In fact, leaders and brand partners both face the same problems every day. Leaders become leaders because they have learned to look for solutions to problems rather than react to problems.
Therefore, servant leadership starts with your own personal development journey. It starts with you realizing that in every way—your actions, your thoughts, your belief in others’ potential, your attitude and your reaction to change, whatever the situation—you are the example.
Being a true servant leader means you are exhibiting the characteristics worthy of being modeled because you have recognized that being a servant leader means you are a role model every single day. Yes, people watch you every moment and to be a leader you must be worthy of following.
Jeff Olson says, “Effective leaders are defined by the size of the problems they can solve, and servant leadership provides a model for others to emulate all aspects of leadership including problem solving.”
Rather than “telling” the way, leaders show the way.
This is often referred to as leading by example, but unfortunately most people miss the fact that this begins with your own continuous and never-ending self-improvement. The single biggest reason most leaders do not continue in their growth journey is they believe they have already arrived. Being good can be the enemy of you being a great servant leader.
No one is on the stage by him- or herself; we are mere representatives of our teams. Being a servant leader means giving credit to those around you for their contribution to the team. Those leaders who continue on the path of self-development and lead by example usually realize they did not get to where they are by themselves.
For a leader who adopts the servant role, helping a new brand partner by showing them what to do and how to do is simply part of the “job requirement.” We tell all our new brand partners, “You do not work for us; we work for you. If you show up, then we show up.” We believe the business model of relationship marketing should be viewed as an inverted pyramid, with the team at the top.
Showing up as a servant leader means you follow through on your commitments to your team as well as to yourself. Committing to be available for an event or a call and raising someone’s hopes, and then crushing them by not following through, is not only a terrible thing to do, it will also undermine long-term success, because the example you set is the example others will duplicate.
Servant leadership requires you to have vision. It requires you to know where you are and where you want to go, as well as understanding how you are going to get there. It also requires you to be able to infuse your team with common goals and visions and as a result align the team toward the goal of achieving greatness together.
Embracing the fact that we live in an increasingly complex world, a servant leader loves team members enough to be unmovable on holding them accountable to using a proven system. This will leverage ordinary people to the point where they can produce extraordinary results.
Our focus is to train others to take our place and surpass us in every area, so they will do the same for others. We believe that doing this creates a long-term, sustainable, legacy business.
Here is how world-renowned management consultant and bestselling author Peter F. Drucker puts it:
“It seems to me the leaders who work most effectively never say “I.” That’s not because they have trained themselves not to say “I.” They simply don’t think “I.” They think “we,” they think “team.” They understand their job is to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but “we” is what gets the credit. This creates the trust that will enable you to get the task done.”
Layers of leadership will make your business grow exponentially and allow you to have time freedom, meaning the development of leaders enables you to engage in the rest of your life. If you don’t make developing leaders your prime focus, you simply can’t go on vacation or have a life.
The reward is the journey—the journey toward the success of all. Being a servant leader promotes the team concept of moving everyone forward and lifting others up toward their ultimate success, which is to become a servant leader themselves.
Based in Texas, RON FORRESTER and LESLIE HOCKER are business and life partners who together have six decades of experience in network marketing. They were featured Master Networkersin the May/Jun 2013 issue of Networking Times
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