Is Being of Service One of Your Management Skills? – Part 1 of 4 Part Series

Find out why Service should be one of your Management Skills. 

Service! Customer Service! Postal Service! Service Station! Service Center! Self- Service. Quality Service! Civil Service! We use the word as if it grew on trees. But what happens when we overuse any word? We tend to forget its true meaning. “Service” is one word whose real meaning deserves to be kept alive and fresh.

The real meaning of service is associated with acts of kindness and generosity. A single act of service provides multiple benefits. Scientific research has documented that acts of service can generate greater feelings of wellbeing and happiness in the people who receive the service, the people who give the service, and even in people who witness an act of service. In business terms, that’s quite an R.O.I.!

Great leaders value being of service to the people they lead.

“How am I doing?” was a question past New York City Mayor Ed Koch often posed as he walked through the city streets. As part of his service as mayor, Koch spoke directly to the people of New York to find out what they thought he was doing right and what they thought he could do better on. He knew that he could not be successful in leading the people of New York unless he was also successful in serving them.

An extraordinary example of servant leadership is that of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the early 20th century Antarctic explorer who, after his ship became frozen in the ocean, brought every one of his 27 crew members home alive – an amazing endeavor that included an 800 mile journey in open boats across the winter Antarctic seas. It took two years, but Shackleton’s sense of responsibility towards his men never wavered.

Many modern management theories, including those developed by experts such as Robert Greenleaf who advanced the concept and coined the term “Servant Leader”, consider being of service to be one of the most important leadership and management skills. Interestingly, this idea has been embraced by leaders for centuries, as illustrated by the following poem written in approximately 600 B.C. in the Tao Te Ching by the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu.

The greatest leader forgets himself And attends to the development of others. Good leaders support excellent workers. Great leaders support the bottom ten percent. Great leaders know that The diamond in the rough Is always found “in the rough.”

To learn more about how Service can become of your best Management Skills look for Part 2,3 & 4 of this series in coming days.

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