Strong Leaders Serve and Support After reading my post “Recognition Pitfalls and Traps” a reader sent me an e-mail highlighting two points that resonated most with her:

  • “Employees are like partners, to be listened to and involved in running the organization”; and
  • “Sincere and honest recognition is one of the lowest cost and highly effective ways a leader can inspire and energize people.”

She went on to explain that she has three new supervisors who “are ripe for this kind of messaging. What they lack in experience they multiply in enthusiasm and energy. I keep sharing with them in different ways that our role as leaders is to clear the field to enable our staff to make the play.”

She went on to outline a recent example of serving and supporting staff:

“One of the supervisors overheard one of his staff commenting on her keyboard scratching her wrist. We know that a facilities request to fix this would take weeks (no criticism, just the reality). He asked if he could take a keyboard from a vacant office and replace it. We only needed a screwdriver. You can imagine the staff’s delight. My delight was knowing that a new supervisor was getting and demonstrating how important it is for us to treat staff like valuable partners and remove all obstacles. People are our number one asset and we need to demonstrate that every day. I think you said in another one of your articles that staff are like expensive automobiles, look after them and show them off. I try to do this every day.”

This is a great example of “servant leadership” or the core value of stewardship that is the hallmark of many highly effective leaders. See my post “Are You a Servant Leader? Whom Do You Serve?” for the origin of this term and links to other discussions of the topic.