For ServiceMaster by Stratos CEO Stacy McCall, service is a value she holds to the highest standard, and it’s how she determined which leadership style she wanted to pursue. Servant leadership has been the driving force behind the organization since its founding in 1980. Over the years, Stacy has learned a great deal by using this approach, but no time period compares to what she gleaned during the pandemic and what it reiterated.

Servant leadership isn’t just for leaders, it’s for individuals at all levels. Everyone – manager, employee or owner – must work alongside one another whenever necessary. No member of the team should ever be “too good” for a job or task, especially one they ask their employees or colleagues to do. To put it simply, servant leadership requires humility. Managers could be on the front lines, a job they may have once held before moving up to a position of influence, while owners could be working in the trenches, empowering employees by their side to produce the highest standard of work. Continual acts of service and possessing an attitude of humility will result in team members emulating that same work ethic. 

While working alongside one another creates a sense of trust and relatability, it also creates a rare opportunity. Leaders are able to capture moments they wouldn’t otherwise see. When leaders spend time in the trenches, they are able to directly acknowledge employees’ efforts. A leader’s presence can inspire the team to rise to the occasion at hand, give them a feeling of being acknowledged or heard and light a spark within them to reach new heights or to just keep going.

Servant leadership isn’t easy, but it pays off greatly in the form of an outstanding company culture, healthy communication, high levels of trust, and an enhanced commitment to the organization and to one another. But remember, no business will reap the benefits of servant leadership if it doesn’t permeate through every level – from the top down. How can you exhibit this leadership style in your own workplace, and how can you empower other members of your team to do the same?

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