As we head into a new year, I am challenging our team members to focus on what it truly means to Serve First. It’s easy to define all the ways we serve our families, our friends and our community, but it’s not always easy to define how we serve one another at work. As consultants, we understand the concepts of how to serve our clients well which has helped us gain tremendous momentum as we start 2019. The challenge comes when we talk about how to serve our team members with all the complex dynamics that a work environment brings. I have gathered a few key tips that have helped us define this value in our organization and hope that it also impacts yours.
Start with Coffee
I am sure you have heard about the Starbucks effect on people as they find out their coffee has been paid for in the drive thru line by the person in front of them. This small act of kindness can turn into upwards of 25 -30 cars paying for each other’s coffee in a simple pay it forward concept. If you have ever been the recipient, you know how amazing it feels when they tell you the person in front of you just paid for your purchase. This week’s challenge is to invest time with another team member to find out what their favorite coffee is and bring it in the next day. Invite them to sit for a few minutes and have coffee together. This small act can create large dividends in your relationship building with that team member and may help to break down some walls between you. Coffee is a magic cure and if you don’t believe us just try it for yourself!
How You Enter the Room Matters
When you come into a room are you greeting others and engaging with them in an authentic manner, or are you waiting to be greeted? When you focus on serving others your first instinct should be to start the conversation with team members to show interest in them. Starting with simple questions about how their day is going, how is the family, and what priorities they have today helps to align the two of you together and starts to build trust. If you come into a room with the expectation that everyone is there to serve and support you, regardless of your position, you have the ability to negatively impact the environment and culture. Challenge yourself to go the extra mile this week to be the first to start the conversation and see how others respond.
Meet Them Where They Are
If you are a leader in your organization, investing in your team members and serving them is critical to building influence. Building personal relationships with our team helps to build trust and when nurtured correctly can create strong loyalty to the organization. We like to call our team members family, and when a family member is struggling, we walk beside that individual for as long as it takes to help them find their way again. This can be as simple as helping with a project at work or something more personal such as reaching out to help during a loss of a loved one. When you see each other as family, dysfunctional or not, it changes the way we serve one another and feels more natural. Life is hard and complicated, but there is beauty in the chaos when others walk with you in a season of struggle.