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The richness of giving back without reward as a Servant Leader

Many years ago, a colleague of mine had one of those life-defining moments that was about to change his life forever.

He felt that he didn’t have enough time to truly make a difference with his staff’s development, constantly going from one scenario to the next, often running flat out like a hamster on a wheel.

As he reflected on his predicament, he knew one thing, he deeply cared about his staff and their development so embarked on a quest to make time for them, openly encouraging their development, often volunteering to help them be the best they could be and on many occasions going the extra mile by mentoring, coaching and motivating them to achieve their personal goals, whatever they were, and asking nothing in return.

I remember one such occasion when he stood in front of his staff and authentically told them that one of his deepest aspirations and values as a leader was helping them succeed in their development and ambitions in life, he then offered to dedicate two hours of his own time before and after work to help them with training on any subject.

The authenticity and passion in his announcement were firstly greeted with caution by his team, not used to this style of leadership and a question was asked Why are you doing this? to which he humbly replied: “Because I care about you all and want you to succeed with whatever you want in life.”

Over the next few months, most of the staff took him up on his offer and a level of trust and respect formed with their leader as they could see he was genuinely trying to help them develop their capabilities.

The team dynamics also changed with a foundation of trust, empowerment, and buzz of excitement spreading like the plague around the office, positively impacting the culture and profits of the organisation.

I met up with my colleague one year later and asked him how giving up his free time to mentor his team went, and he looked at me, smiled and stated: “It was the most stimulating and rewarding experience I have ever done” and there was no going back now on this journey of leadership.”

The team had also gone from strength to strength, now becoming an award-winning team that thrived on trust, diversity and cultural beliefs, however for my colleague it wasn’t just about the results, it was more about giving back freely and openly to help others develop.

Reality dictates that we live in a fast-paced, ever-evolving world of change which eats up our time and energy, and sometimes we forget to give back to people we care about the most.

And for those that do give back, a rich intangible reward of satisfaction and excitement, watching someone achieve their ambitions and desires.

A reward that money can’t buy!

About the Author

Tony Beaven, CEO at Elders Financial Planning

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