Before we get started, today, Wednesday, August 21st is the very last day to reserve your spot for “The Exceptional Experience” and still get the Early Bird Pricing of $545! After today, the price for the class will be going up to $595. So this is your final reminder to get the best price available before it increases! Register here to snatch it up!
And also, this Friday, August 23rd at 4:30 pm I’ll be chatting with Nancy Ganzekaufer, Interior Design Business Coach, on her “Weekend Wine Down” show featured on Facebook Live. You can RSVP here and take part in our conversation on “How to Deliver a High End Service Experience to Your Clients.” It’s going to be a fun filled, info packed time and is sure to not disappoint! I hope to see you there!
To Lead, Is to Serve
And now onto our weekly post! The other night Aaron and I were watching the Netflix series “Megafood,” which if you’ve never watched it, I highly recommend you do. It’s a fascinating short series focused on how different types of businesses handle preparing mass amounts of food – cruise ships, Sea World, airplanes, etc. and last night’s was our personal favorite, the Marina Bay Sands Singapore (a massive high end hotel). The work they do, both in quality and quantity is amazing. And, as I’m sure the producers want you to ponder, you definitely think to yourself, “How do they do all of that?!” And while there are a lot of different answers to that question, one of the main answers is that there’s always a great leader and a great team in place.
At one point in the show the executive pastry chef called in all of the other chef de cuisines of the property, and the executive chef himself, for a tasting of his new desserts. He wanted honest thoughts and feedback on the direction he was going, and they were all happy to oblige, despite the fact that their lives are insanely busy and completely non stop. Because they were there to work as a team, happy to support each other in their excellence.
And after the tasting, the show had a quick interview with the executive chef and asked him, how do you manage it all? His answer? He created and maintains a very simple and concise hierarchy with his teams as he never wanted to be too far from anyone. He wanted things to be going both top to bottom, and from the bottom to the top. If he needed to let someone know that something needed to change, he was able to do that. But if someone lower in the hierarchy needed something from him or wanted to suggest a change, he needed to be available for that as well. Because leaders don’t just lead. They also serve.
What Else Can I Do to Help You?
So often as leaders we can get stuck in the idea that we are only there to lead. We are only there to plan out the big picture, make the big goals, make sure that the team is on target, and right them when they’re not. And although that of course is a HUGE part of leading, there is another part, a much less discussed part, a maybe not as often delivered upon part, the serving. Because to truly be a great leader, you must also humble yourself in service.
Because once you show your teams where you’re going and how you’re going to get there, you also have to make sure that you’re serving your teams along the way. Employees need to know that in their time of need, you’re there to serve and support them so they, and whatever they’re working on, can succeed as well.
If as a designer and owner you’re sharing the vision and the goals on a consistent basis with your team, vendors, and clients, but aren’t checking in with a “Is there anything you need to help make this process easier on you?/more successful?/more achievable?” or “How can I help you achieve this?” goals might not be met the same way they could be if you did check in. And you could be missing critical and crucial information that could help you get there.
But when all of these people (vendors, employees, and clients) know that you’re not only dedicated to just leading by telling other people what to do (which isn’t a bad thing, that’s definitely what you’re supposed to do), but also leading by serving others and their needs, that’s being a servant leader. And in my opinion, a truly great leader.
Serve, Support, & Lead
Because when you’re a servant leader you’re not only pushing everyone forward and making sure that you’re doing everything possible to get the job done, and done well; you’re also showing your employees, vendors, and clients, I’m not just here to boss you around. I really want to listen to you, respect you, and support you. And as they see that, they’ll in turn be that much more willing to put forth that extra effort that you need. People put forth the most effort when they feel respected and appreciated, and asking your team what you can do to help, is one of the fastest and best ways to do that.
And don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you lose your role as leader. Or that you look like a door mat. Or that you have no self confidence. On the contrary. When you lead with confidence and purpose, and then serve with confidence and purpose, your team truly sees you as a great and effective leader. Rather than just a bossy boss.
So the next time you’re pondering your next set of goals for this last quarter of the year, or pushing yourself and your team hard to make a deadline, remember to also stop and ask your team members (staff, vendors, and clients – not just staff), how can I help make this easier?/how can I support you and help you reach this goal? Now the question will of course change from one person to the next, and from one type of team member to the next, as you obviously won’t ask the plumber the same question as you would your client, but the idea remains the same. You are there to serve as the leader. You are a servant leader. And those leaders, well, those leaders, are the best leaders. And that’s what we all want to be. Isn’t it?
Leave your comments below and share what you think, and what you’ve found when you lead your design project and team as a servant leader!
And if you’d like to join us for even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client experience that gets you greater loyalty, efficiency, and profits, register for “The Exceptional Experience” before the Early Bird Special ends on August 21st!