Servant Leadership

Posted by David Chism | Thu, Sep 15, 2011

 Servant Leadership
I sub­scribe to a month­ly pub­li­ca­tion called TableTalk by Ligoneer Min­istries. If you are one who enjoys read­ing the Bible and wants to dig deep­er, I’d high­ly rec­om­mend TableTalk. Even if you have no inter­est in the Bible, the fol­low­ing ideas might be very help­ful to you. Dur­ing my morn­ing read­ing recent­ly, I was intrigued by the top­ic of dis­cus­sion. It was called, Lead­ing By Exam­ple” and based on a Bible pas­sage from Eph­esians 6:9,
Mas­ters, do the same to them [employ­ees], and stop your threat­ing, know­ing that he who is both their Mas­ter and yours is in heav­en, and that there is no par­tial­i­ty with Him.”
TableTalk ends each devo­tion­al with what is called Coram Deo (liv­ing before the face of God). Let me quote the devo­tions com­plete Coram Deo, since it can­not be sum­ma­rized,
Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er once observed that, lead­er­ship is the art of get­ting some­one else to do some­thing you want done because he wants to do it.” Good lead­ers do not lead by main­tain­ing uncer­tain, ever-chang­ing stan­dards or by demean­ing good work­ers. Instead, they serve those whom they super­vise by encour­ag­ing them and set­ting a vision that all can seize and run with gladly.”
My Dad’s Example Today’s study was encour­ag­ing to me as it remind­ed me how my dad led by exam­ple when I worked with him at Chism Broth­ers Paint­ing. He is not a dif­fi­cult busi­ness own­er. He shows respect and kind­ness to his employ­ees. He makes sure that each employ­ee’s voice is heard and that he is approach­able at any time. One impor­tant thing my dad did while I worked with him is he’d have reg­u­lar break­fast meet­ings one on one with his crew lead­ers. I knew his painters appre­ci­at­ed this time with him. Every now and then a painter would think there was a bet­ter posi­tion or job out there in the world and they’d go explor­ing. Many times, those men came back ask­ing for their jobs back. I remem­ber one man in par­tic­u­lar who decid­ed to work for my dad’s com­peti­tor. It last­ed 2 very long weeks before he begged for his job back. My dad gave it back, and this man still works for Chism Broth­ers many years lat­er. Once back, he real­ized just how well the lead­er­ship led by exam­ple. He felt that he was part of a team. My dad actu­al­ly got paint on his hands now and then. The men respect­ed him because he was a super­star painter. He also shared his vision and ideas reg­u­lar­ly with his employ­ees. He’d ask for their feed­back and insight when mak­ing cer­tain busi­ness deci­sions. He also reward­ed them gen­er­ous­ly for their hard work. I’ve spo­ken to some busi­ness own­ers that only give bonus mon­ey to employ­ees if they brought a job in under bud­get. Although my dad watch­es the num­bers care­ful­ly, he did not nick­el-and-dime his staff. I think that was the rea­son his com­pa­ny was prof­itable at the year’s end even with a few unprof­itable jobs. His painters knew he was a fair and hon­est man so they worked hard for Dad. Mar­ket­ing and Leadership One thing I’ve dis­cov­ered the past few years is a dis­con­nect between most con­trac­tors and their employ­ees. Most employ­ees just want to swing a ham­mer or put paint on the walls. They’d rather not put door hang­ers around the neigh­bor­hood, ask for a refer­ral or look for extra work. In most cas­es I think it is because many of them just think of them­selves as tech­ni­cians: I’m just a painter!” or Ah I’m just a guy who installs cab­i­nets.” So how do you change this atti­tude in your employ­ees? My sug­ges­tion is to fol­low my dad’s pol­i­cy: lead by exam­ple, share your vision, con­nect with your employ­ees just as much as you do with your cus­tomers. Spend the time it takes to focus on involv­ing your employ­ees in more aspects of your busi­ness and they will begin to play a big­ger part in your com­pa­ny. Your field employ­ees do not typ­i­cal­ly intim­i­date home­own­ers. They are the ones who can real­ly con­nect and get more busi­ness. If you reward them for their efforts and you make them feel impor­tant, I believe you’ll see your com­pa­ny grow. Not all employ­ees are moti­vat­ed by mon­ey, so find out what moti­vates them: try to shape their work expe­ri­ence in a way that they want to do the things you ask of them. How do you moti­vate employ­ees in your busi­ness? What are your thoughts about this top­ic? I’d love to hear your sto­ry and feed­back. For Fur­ther Read­ing on Lead­ing by Serv­ing, see John 13:12 – 15

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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