Has the Term Being of Service Become Redundant?
Have you ever decided on a word of the year? In 2016, I chose Service as my word of the year. And for the next 12 months, I focused on how I could become a better servant leader and be of service to my clients, team members, family and friends. Now is seems like leading with service first has become the next catch phrase for many businesses and entrepreneurs. My question is, has the term being of service become redundant?
More and more people are realizing that being of service to others is one of the very first steps to being success in business and as a human being. And this is a really good thing. However, do you ever feel like the term has become overused? Now that everyone is being of service to their customers, do the words have less impact?
What does being of service really mean?
It’s easy to add these words to your vision statement or post it on your website; it’s how we execute our service that is most important. To me, being of service is based on a feeling of truly caring about what the other person wants or need. It’s focusing on how to best serve them; with the skills, talents, wisdom or products that we offer. And sometimes, it’s not even about what we have to offer but pointing them in the direction of someone or something else that can better serve them.
How can we truly be of service to others?
It can be easy to confuse being of service with acquiescing to our clients’ every want and desire. When we are being of service to others, it doesn’t mean that we have to compromise our values or our integrity. Often the best way to be of service to someone is to simply start by actively listening to them. Once we are clear on what they are asking for, we can then provide solutions or suggestions that would serve them best.
This is the biggest challenge however…
It can be really difficult to be of service to others when we are worried about closing a sale or getting something that we want or need. This is where we find the difference between writing the words ‘being of service’ and acting as a servant leader. Robert Greenleaf says, “the servant-leader is servant first.” By that he meant that that the desire to serve, the “servant’s heart,” is a fundamental characteristic of a servant-leader. It is not about being servile, it is about wanting to help others. It is about identifying and meeting the needs of colleagues, customers, and communities.
What can we do to be of service to others?
There are so many ways to be of service to others and to be a servant-leader. These are a few of my favorite ways to serve:
- Volunteer work
- Holding the door open
- Thanking everyone for their service as you go about your day
- Active listening, without your own agenda
- Be patient
- Celebrating others
- Helping others to achieve their goals
- Staying in a drama-free zone
- Random acts of kindness
- Being calm and polite when faced with a challenge
- Respecting others and our differences
- Making meals for others
- Planning and preparing special occasions
How will you choose to be of service?
I invite you to take a look at how you are already being of service to others in your life, and perhaps look at where you can add one or two new ways to be of service. For me, being of service to others starts in my heart. When I ask, how may I be of service, it comes from deep within in my heart. I used to worry about how others would receive my words, however I’ve realized that’s not up to me. I know what my intention is and I know where my heart is.
Being of service to others would change our world
When more human beings decide to be of service to other human beings, this will have a wonderful effect on our world. Together we can make sure that the term being of service is never redundant or trendy. With more servant leaders, more and more people will be inspired to serve others. Will you join me?