“Leaders are leaders because they are the greater servants. The way up is down…” – Francis M. Cosgrove Jr.
When your employees think of your leadership style, what do they see? Someone focused only on going up the organizational ladder? Or a Servant leader…someone committed to serving both your customers and your employees?
Walt Disney was one of those leaders. In How to be like Walt, author Pat Williams recounts numerous examples of how Walt’s servant leadership was just a part of who he was, including this one from actor Dean Jones:
A gardener at the Disney studio left some tools in a empty parking space. When a producer drove up and saw the tools in his space, he honked the gardener and gave the poor man a chewing out. Walt walked up an interrupted the producer’s tirade. Hold it! he said. “Don’t you ever treat one of my employees like that! This man has been with me longer than you have, so you’d better be good to him!”
That was Walt. To his employees, he was not only a leader. He was their defender and their servant. That’s what separate leaders from bosses.
Seeing a true leader in action can truly change your life. While I’ve had the good fortune to meet many successful bussinespeople, authors and speakers in my career , been a servant has been one of the most important characteristics I have overserved in those leaders that I admire.
“Servant-Leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them” – Ken Blanchard.