I enjoy sharing my thoughts with you. I am sure you can tell I write from the heart and some of these thoughts are often inspired by my personal experiences. That said, let’s discuss the topic for today.
This week I had an encounter with the CEO of a thriving business. Her business growth was so impressive and based on my itsy-bitsy knowledge of business owners with a vast range of clientele, I was surprised she handles all inquiries herself.
I mean let’s face it, we know these are good tenets but how many of us practice them. Most of the big businesses I’ve dealt with often have someone managing the inquiries with targets to turn prospects into buying or paying customers. The emphasis, therefore, is on getting a good service-oriented staff to engage your customers.
Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with the latter and it probably may be a better option depending on the nature of the business but there’s something exceptional about having the CEO at the helm of affairs. Aside from the fact that you may be more passionate and understand the product or service better, the mere fact that the customer gets to talk to you may be the deal-breaker for you to get the business.
In my professional experience, I have observed that teams or companies that are successful often have their leaders at the center of all operations. They are involved in the day-to-day running of the business and have an effective management system that gives them oversight of all aspects of the business. These persons are also seen as very knowledgeable and on top of issues. And rightly so, because indeed they are serving as well and know the issues on grounds. This bit of information also guides them in the strategy aspect of their leadership.
The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one’s capacity to lead is severely limited.Robert Greenleaf
As a leader, you must be ready to serve. You must show that you can understand or at best, can do the very same things you ask your team to do. As you serve, you identify the challenges they face and this gives you insights to improve their experiences. In the same way, you also get to understand the gaps that need to be tweaked for a better customer experience.
Typically, you would find leaders holding long meetings and asking for updates. They then give out tasks and focus on reviewing reports that are submitted to them. It is only when issues arise that they step in to assist. For leaders who also report to others, they have their presentations put together for them to read through and use. While this is not wrong in any way, it limits your visibility and you tend to depend too much on your employees.
It would be a good idea to study what each of your employees does and perhaps do this with them once in a while. Let them know you can do it and with your experience, you may be able to teach them a few tricks to make their work better.
Find ways to be on the grounds. Are you the CEO of a bank, the general manager of an oil company, or the COO of a network of businesses? Make time to randomly visit your locations and interact with your staff and customers. You will be surprised to find out how much is not brought to your attention. You may also be pleasantly impressed with the dedication of your staff and may understand better how you can keep them motivated.
As professionals, there may be so much to do, and to effectively do this, you must delegate. Delegating does not mean you take your hands completely off. The point is that you must serve too. It is crucial you do this and you will be way better for it. Always ask this question; how can I help? When your staff sees your willingness to get your hands dirty too, they will show more dedication.
In the words of Howard Schultz, the world belongs to the few people who are not afraid to get their hands dirty.
For those of us yet to take leadership roles, this is the time to prepare. Ensure you do your work diligently with or without supervision. Find more opportunities to serve as this helps you to acquire multiple skills that will be of use in the future.
Serving others prepares you to lead othersJim George
You must always do things right. Work with a leadership mindset. Aim to be excellent at your job- so excellent that you are often called to take charge of projects. Always ask yourself, how you can do your work better, what questions your boss would ask about your work, and how your work impacts the business. It may seem tiring but it’s preparation for your leadership success.
Be a leader that serves!
CX Head, UBA Ghana
National Organizer, CXP Ghana