I’m excited to share the fourth element of the SERVE model from the first book I wrote with Mark Miller, The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do. But I can’t start without a quick review of the first three elements.
The S in the SERVE model stands for See the Future and points out the importance of having a compelling vision for the future. The first E in the model stands for Engage and Develop Others and focuses on hiring the right people for the right roles and investing in their development. The R stands for Reinvent Continuously and refers to personal reinvention, systems and processes reinvention, and structural reinvention.
The V in the SERVE model stands for Value Results and Relationships. For many years, leaders thought they had to choose between people and results, but in fact both elements are critical for long-term success. It’s not an either/or proposition—it’s a both/and approach. Leaders who focus only on results will lose their people—but leaders also can’t run a company as if it were a social club. People have to be held accountable for achieving goals. Successful leaders are able to create an environment where morale is high and people work diligently to achieve results. Leaders must set high expectations while maintaining respectful relationships that will inspire optimal performance.
Think about a time when you had a great leader. I’ll bet that leader challenged you to perform at a high level, but also provided support to help you reach your goals. Leaders who set clear goals with their people, listen to their needs, provide authentic feedback and coaching, and celebrate successes along the way will reap the benefits of working with a consistently high performing team.
The typical ups and downs of our economy require leaders to stay aware of business results, but smart leaders realize those results are achieved by people. I’ve always said that if you take care of your customers and create a motivating work environment for your people, profits and financial strength are the applause you’ll get for a job well done.
As you can see, great leaders must balance both critical elements—results and relationships. Measure your ability to do this by asking yourself these questions:
- How much emphasis do I place on getting results?
- How many of my people would say I make a significant investment in helping them succeed?
- How have I expressed appreciation for a job well done in the past thirty days?
Answer honestly, and remember: mastering the art of leadership is a journey. There will always be room for improvement, so enjoy the trip.