Skip to main content

Service is an incredibly powerful and transformative value that shapes our lives in profound ways. It serves as a guiding principle, inspiring us to lead lives that are purposeful and to forge deep connections with others. Applying it through servant leadership fosters collaboration, empowers those around us, and has the potential to revolutionize the culture within our workplaces.

However, when we think about service, we often limit it to vague and general terms. For instance, as a member of the Army, I take pride in serving my country. While this is undoubtedly meaningful, it fails to capture the true essence of service in a way that can be translated to other aspects of my daily life.

Touchpoints: Powerful Moments of Servant Leadership

Douglas Conant accomplished an incredible feat by transforming Campbell Soup from a struggling company into a profitable and successful empire. Interestingly, Conant attributes his success not to traditional business practices like marketing or accounting, but to intentional leadership strategies that brought about essential changes in the company’s culture. In his book, Touchpoints, published in 2011, Conant dives into the concept of touchpoints and how they played a pivotal role in his leadership style.

Touchpoints refer to those seemingly insignificant interactions we have with others. They occur with our subordinates, peers, and superiors. Picture this: you’re deeply immersed in a project, experiencing a state of flow where you’re incredibly focused, productive, and achieving great things. Suddenly, someone interrupts you, whether it’s to ask a question or seek assistance. That interruption disrupts your flow, throwing off your productivity and leaving you struggling to regain momentum.

This interruption is an example of a touchpoint, a critical moment where we have a choice to make. We can react in a way that showcases our annoyance through our tone of voice or body language, expressing our frustration at being interrupted. Alternatively, we can take a different path—the path of service. Reacting impulsively with annoyance will lead to negative consequences, making the other person feel undervalued as a team member. Ultimately, this damages the overall culture of our organization.

Instead, we can choose a more positive approach. We can engage with an attitude of service, seeking to understand and assist the person who interrupted us. By doing so, we demonstrate that we value their needs and contributions. This fosters a culture of collaboration and support within our organization, benefiting everyone involved.

Unite your team with servant leadership.

Servant Leadership: A Shift in How We View Leadership

Recently, I experienced a change in leadership. Our previous commander moved on, and a new person took their place at the helm. As I began working with this new boss, I made a conscious effort to show them respect and deference, aiming to establish myself as a reliable team player.

However, by embracing an attitude of service, I believe we can create a society where hierarchical ranks become less significant. This means that regardless of a person’s position or status—whether they are our boss, a colleague, or a subordinate—we choose to serve them with equal dedication and commitment to teamwork. When someone, even the lowest-ranking individual in our organization, walks into my office seeking help, I make it my goal to serve them just as I would our commander.

With this shift in mindset, I hope to foster an environment where everyone feels valued and supported. I want to break down the barriers that can arise from rigid hierarchies and encourages a culture of collaboration and mutual respect. When we prioritize serving others, we establish a foundation for stronger relationships and more effective teamwork.

The Illusion of Strength: Leadership Misconceptions

In the military, it’s common for young and inexperienced leaders to believe that the key to effective leadership is projecting strength. They often adopt a strict and disciplinary approach, harshly punishing even the smallest infractions if they feel their authority is being challenged.

Sadly, these leaders fail to realize the harm they’re causing to the workplace culture. Their subordinates secretly wish for their leader’s failure, even though it would also harm the team. There’s no loyalty towards the team, and these individuals eagerly await the end of their contracts so they can quit and go home.

Servant leadership is the bridge that allows us to connect with one another.

Redefining Leadership: The Power of Compassion

Recently, I witnessed a truly remarkable display of leadership through the actions of my friend, Andrew. Andrew embodied servant-focused leadership, standing out from the common approach of many leaders. When one of his team members faced a daunting challenge and displayed a negative attitude, most leaders would have resorted to scolding. However, Andrew chose a different path. He decided to tackle the situation with empathy and understanding.

Instead of reprimanding his team member, Andrew actively joined in the task, providing practical assistance and offering continuous encouragement. He expressed genuine pride in the team member’s determination and resilience. Andrew went even further by taking the time to sit down with the team member after the event. He compassionately inquired about any personal issues that might be affecting him outside of work. He demonstrated kindness by simply listening and hearing what this team member had to say. Andrew wanted to understand the bigger picture and provide unwavering support beyond the immediate task at hand.

His actions echoed the wise words of John Maxwell, who emphasizes that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Andrew showed deep concern for the team member’s overall well-being.

This exceptional display of leadership demonstrated the impact a servant-focused approach can have on a team, and it was a powerful moment. Instead of relying on harsh discipline to enforce authority, Andrew cultivated a supportive and caring environment.

Conclusion: The Power of Servant Leaders

Leadership has a significant impact on the team. Those who choose a tough and disciplinary approach, mistakenly thinking it makes them strong leaders, end up damaging morale. However, there’s another approach: servant leadership. When leaders embrace this approach, they treat team members with respect and value, regardless of their rank or position. This empowers subordinates, making them feel valued and proud to be part of the team.

Later, when pressure mounts and the team faces a crisis, team members not only willingly contribute, but they genuinely want to contribute. They care about the team’s success and are motivated to do their part. Leaders who inspire this kind of motivation by adopting a servant leadership approach exemplify what all leaders should aspire to be—leaders whom others admire and genuinely desire to serve.

In conclusion, service is a transformative life value that goes beyond vague and generic notions. It’s about embracing intentional servant-based leadership strategies and recognizing the significance of touchpoints—the small interactions we have with others. By choosing the path of service in these moments, we can create better cultures in our workplaces and foster meaningful connections along the way. This extends to embracing servant leadership, treating everyone with respect and value regardless of their rank or position.

Leaders who embrace this approach inspire loyalty, motivation, and a genuine desire among team members to serve and contribute to the team’s success. Ultimately, service and servant leadership are crucial for creating a society where rank is no longer necessary, and where teamwork and collaboration thrive.

Nicholas Cardot

The transformation begins with you. Develop the leader inside you and become the driving influence your community is looking for.

Leave a Reply