In my leadership credo, I state that I believe leadership is helping others succeed. But belief statements are just thought-candy if not turned into actions. I want my credo to hold weight. I want it to be more than words on a page.
James captures the relationship between beliefs and works in his epistle as “faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” His point was genuine faith reveals itself through supporting actions. As I reflected on this thought and my leadership beliefs, I jotted-down a few examples from my journey. I’ve helped many people succeed along my path, though not nearly enough. I record a couple of examples here to continue to inspire not only myself but others along their journey as well.
Several years ago, I moved a well-tenured employee, burdened with supporting legacy applications and workflows, into a more progressive programming team. She didn’t have a technical background in modern programming tools. But she did have institutional knowledge about business rules and system interconnections. For her to succeed in the second half of her career, she needed a bridge for the transition. Although foreign to her at first, she did succeed in her new role. She used her institutional knowledge and her desire to solve problems to adapt to the changing role. Ultimately, she learned some new technical skills while at the same time helping the company succeed.
On another occasion, I helped restore the administrative rights of an engineer to make changes to an online system. His privileges were revoked by a previous manager after a mistake causing a production outage. The restriction affected more than just this one employee. The entire team had become reserved and scared of making mistakes for fear of resulting actions. After restoring his ability to make changes, there was a marked difference in the employee’s attitude and output. He was happier at work and increased his production of monthly work by 50%. When I acknowledged his change, he told me he felt more confident in his abilities and more trusted to complete work.
My reflection time reminded me part of the fabric of servant leadership is helping others succeed. I’m comfortable chasing this belief in my life. To accomplish this, I must genuinely want others to advance and achieve their goals. I must put them first.
Onward and Upward.
Photo credit: A Helping Hand by Damian Gada via Creative Commons – https://flic.kr/p/5ywwYd