Serve to lead
Motto of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst
Leadership is an attitude. It’s a way of relating to other people which can be practised by everyone. Leadership is no more about telling other people what to do than it is blindly leaping into the abyss and expecting everyone else to follow.
We coach directors and the managers in practising leadership, as defined by Chuck Spezzano: Make the other person more important than you. In our experience it is the most useful way of relating to other people, whether staff, clients, suppliers and other stakeholders. It is just another expression of the servant-leadership principle: Serve to lead.
And some people have considerable trouble with leadership! Part of the problem—in the UK at least—is that they mistake service for servility and servitude. These aren’t the same thing at all. Servility is about being slavishly submissive and fawning: we’ve all experienced this sort of ‘service’ and, self-evidently, it is unhelpful to everyone.
What Sandhurst is saying to its trainee officers in its motto, Serve to lead, is ‘if you expect to lead that group of soldiers, you’d better be in service to them first’. Being in service means making the other person more important than you. Officers eat last.
In any organisation, it is about creating and maintaining the ‘facilitating environment’ in which the people in that organisation can thrive. And, by so doing, the organisation thrives and succeeds.
by Jeremy Marchant . © 2013 Jeremy Marchant Limited . uploaded 5 march 2013 . image: Free images
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