American businessman David Green said, “You need an attitude of service. You’re not just serving yourself.” The most successful leaders have the habit of serving those around and above them. Whether you have an official leadership position or not you should intentionally serve the people who lead you (your boss or supervisor). It should come from a pure desire to serve and help rather than to earn extra favor or to kiss up to your supervisor. I’ve found many times even the most respected leader is not served or thanked enough. That can and should change. You should begin to form the habit of serving your leader. Here are four practical ways to serve your leader.
1. Recognize them
You should recognize your leader both privately and publically. Take time to spot and speak out the things they are doing well. For example if your leader deescalated a tense situation, shared a good idea in a meeting, or practiced good leadership skills you should be quick to let them know you admired what they did or said. You can also speak an encouraging or validating affirmation to them. A simple “good job with __________” or “great decision” can go a long way.
2. Protect them
Leaders have to make tough decisions all the time. Some of the people will not always like or agree with the decisions being made. This is when you can step up and show you support and will protect the leader’s decisions. There are several things you can do to protect your leader especially when a colleague starts to complain or gossip about the decision the leader has made, something they have said or done, or about the leader’s personality traits. The best thing would be to refrain or stop the conversation or say, “What they did was probably in the best interest for all of us” or “We should not take it personally.”
3. Help them
Being ready and willing to help your leader is a sure way to serve them. You can simply ask your leader if you can help with anything or agree to take on extra work so they don’t have to do it themselves. Taking some of their workload, especially if it’s doing something in their area of weakness or something they don’t enjoy, really will help them out. Take the action necessary whenever you see a need or something that needs to be done. The little acts of service help your leader, even if they never know about it.
4. Give gifts to them
You could buy your supervisor or leader a gift. The gift does not need to be expensive but you should buy something the person would enjoy. If at all possible make the gift personal or meaningful for the receiver. Take time to learn what they like and don’t like. Food and drinks are always a good place to start. Whenever I receive a gift from one of my staff members, a lot of times it’s a Starbucks gift card or candy, the small token of appreciation really makes my day.
Question: Can you add to the list? How do you serve your leader?
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