Leaders Know How To Serve

Gerwig 2016-01-27

My first New England snowstorm! Well, sorta. In the end, about 7” of snow fell where I live, although nearby towns received anywhere from 12-18” of snow. Maybe not an epic winter storm, but a decent storm nonetheless. It was our first snow this winter and I’m hoping it won’t be our last.

While I like snow, I don’t care for shoveling it. I enjoy how it looks when it’s falling. I enjoy the “clean, crisp” look of newly fallen snow. I enjoy throwing snowballs and making “snow ice-cream.” But I’m not a big fan of shoveling. Yes, it’s a great workout but it’s hard work and monotonous. Additionally, every time I’ve ever shoveled snow, I get soaked with sweat. That probably means I’m not appropriately layering my clothes or I’m working too quickly or something to that effect. But inevitably my clothes end up wet and I end up cold. Sledding? Yes. Shoveling? No.

When I moved to Connecticut last year, everyone told me to buy a snow-blower. And while this was good advice, for a variety of reasons, I did not. It would have to be done by hand. In the past, my two sons were an option when we lived in cold climates where snow was prevalent, but no longer. They are now grown and on their own. So, I was stuck. Just me, 7” of snow and a shovel. Ugh!

My plan was to get up the morning after the snowfall, participate in a mandatory conference call and then get to it, two hours of hard, manual, sweat-inducing labor. But a strange (and wonderful) thing happened. While on my conference call, I heard an unusual noise. Looking outside from my upstairs window, I saw two of my neighbors snow-blowing my drive. And my sidewalk!

Awesome! I didn’t have to complete two hours of back-breaking, sweaty, monotonous work. To be transparent, I felt a twinge of guilt. They were clearing my drive. They were working on my behalf. They were serving me. But it was good. I was happy. And I was reminded that:

  1. Great leaders serve others.
  2. It’s not always easy to graciously receive the gift of service.
  3. The best response to service is a sincere “thank you.”

My neighbors did a great job snow-blowing. They also demonstrated well-coordinated teamwork. It was impressive! I really appreciated their gift, their service. Their simple act reminded me how important it is to serve others. At work. In the office. At the gym. In school. On teams. At church. In your neighborhood.

Help others out. Serve them. Let them know you care. Show it. And remember that great leaders know how to serve. They also know how to BE served.

Make a difference in the lives of others this week. Serve and allow others to serve you. Though it may be difficult to be served don’t take away their joy of serving. There will time for that later. And remember that as you serve others, do so without thought of repayment, otherwise it’s not really “service.”

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

Dr. is an agent of change and is able to balance the needs of the business and the needs of people. Dr. Gerwig believes and practices the values of performance and delivery of business metrics while simultaneously developing and growing people into leaders. You can contact him at RobertGerwig[at]LeadStrategic.com.


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