Empathy is described by Robert Greenleaf as one of the twelve characteristics of Servant Leadership. Obviously, when leading from the heart, as is the intent of a serving leader, one has to exercise extreme patience, compassion and understanding in their day-to-day interaction with others.
Be that as it may, just how empathetic should one be in their daily efforts of making a difference in the lives of those whom they are leading? How much empathy is necessary of a servant leader? Until I was asked this question by an interviewing school principal, I admit I had not given much thought to this important Servant Leadership characteristic.
Empathy – not sympathy for the situation of others – is defined as the intellectual identification with, or vicarious experiencing of, the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. In other words, the feelings or attitudes felt within one’s self when considering the feelings, thoughts, attitudes, or expressions of heart-felt concern over an issue that is causing intrinsic anxiety, apprehension or worry in another person.
Leadership is a responsibility that requires a tremendous amount of time and effort in dealing with people as they carry-out the day-to-day tasks of their individual jobs. Leadership today requires more than just expecting the necessary performances of employees to meet company missions and goals.
Larry Spears, in his Focus on Leadership: Servant Leadership for the 21st Century, points out that there is a new leadership paradigm, a new moral principle that requires a new leadership model for successfully leading people to higher levels of success in the organization.
Old Paradigm: Control, Regulations; Manager/Leader Directed; Employee treated like children; Warlike Values.
New Paradigm: Openness, People Oriented; Cooperation, relationships; employee treated like adults; Integrity, trust, mutual respect.
Spears also writes that there is a new “Moral Principle” that says, “The only authority deserving one’s allegiance is given freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader.”
This allegiance is strengthened when employees see in leadership a clearly evident “servant stature” of the leader. In other words, a caring and empathetic attitude emanating from leadership that creates within those led a level of trust and loyalty not normally obtained under the old paradigm of leadership.
This type leadership as a model that is based on teamwork and community building techniques. It seeks to involve others in the decision making process, and actually empowers employees to make decision in their daily job tasks that promote organizational success for the good of the organization.
Servant Leadership is Empathic Leadership that is based on an ethical and caring behavior toward employees that enhances their personal growth, which creates a trusting belief that the leader is intrinsically concerned about the welfare of others.
Just how far does a servant leader go to create this level of trust, this showing of how much you really care about the personal growth of the employees? Is it more important than the organizational vision of expansion and higher levels of profits? Evidence is beginning to emerge that indicates empathic leaders contribute more to the bottom line than the old paradigm of leadership. People will tell you, “I don’t care how much you know, show me how much you care.”
The premier leader of all time tell us that when someone asks you go with them a mile, you should go with them two miles. Empathic leaders “go the extra mile” in their leadership to instill a high level of trust from those under their charge. Leaders can instill this level of empathy in a number of ways.
Key empathic leadership principles include the following empathy-based practices.
- Lead from a value-based, principle-centered position of moral authority. Do the right thing with employees, empower them to make sound personal and organizational decisions. Lead from a set of consistent standards of performance, yet allowing for some flexible boundaries for personal growth. Delegate tasks, share power, while creating a culture of accountability. Maintain your personal integrity.
- Operate from a high level of Emotional Intelligence (EI). Be aware of your own level of empathy, transparency and service orientation. Develop empathic leaders who will in turn develop other empathic leaders. Be an agent of change for personal growth, not only in yourself, but also in the well-being of others.
- Become an empathic listener, who seeks to identify the internal “will” of other’s conversations. Be receptive to what “is” being said, as well as what “is not” being said, seeking to understand what the person’s spirit and mind is saying. Observe what the non-verbal signals are sending as well as with the words that are spoken.
- Maxwell says, “Treat everyone like a 10.” Empathic leaders treat everyone from the same value-based standard, exhibiting a deep-seated belief that everyone has intrinsic and extrinsic value. Empathetic leadership exhibits a strong commitment to the personal growth of everyone – provide professional development; listen to suggestions, reflect on their value and incorporate where appropriate.
- Make employees your “Number 1” priority – put people first in your leadership. Lead from your heart, with compassion as you help others meet their highest priority development needs. Empathic leaders desire to “serve first”, demonstrating a personal calling in the interest of others.
- Tough Love. Being empathic does not negate the requirement for confronting behaviors that run counter to organizational norms. Leaders must be compassionate in their leadership and caring when correcting behavioral concerns, exercising all the ideas above. Empathy doesn’t mean leaders will accept performance that is below standards, employee strife that interferes with teamwork, or decision-making that reduces productivity. Empathic leaders are also proactive leaders, correcting problems to maintain organizational efficiency.
How empathetic should you be in your leadership? How far will you go to lead others? Each leader must answer that question for themselves. For me it is going the extra miles when required, to enhance their lives. Instead of giving up on someone, attempt to improve them. You will see the difference you made and, more importantly, you will feel the intrinsic reward from your empathic leadership efforts.
Thank you for your comments.
Leadership and The Importance of the Battle of Bannockburn
Many people question why the Scots celebrate the anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn every year. After all the English do not celebrate any of their land battles, especially the battle of Falkirk where the English vanquished Sir William Wallace and the Scots. This paper shows why it is done because of what it meant for the re-birth of a nation and the fight for freedom, a basic Masonic tenet.
Each year the nation of Scottish remember and commemorate the Battle of Bannockburn. Likewise, Scottish Rite Masons know of and understand the significance of the location and of this historical Scottish event as it is celebrated in their Initiation of the Knights of St Andrew. Freemasons also know of it through membership in the Royal Order of Scotland.
Bannockburn actually occurred somewhat midway through Scotland’s quest for independence from England. The starting point is considered by most to be in 1286 with the death of King Alexander III, which ended a relatively stable period of Anglo-Scottish relations. The following six years were periods of turmoil for Scotland in finding an agreed upon King to lead the country. The task of finding a King became known as The Great Cause of Scotland. Several groups were involved with the selection, which included a group of nobles and bishops called the Guardians of Scotland, The Scottish Clergy, Bishop William Fraser, The Parliament of Scone, as well as King Edward of England.
Following several events, Edward demanded that all 13 claimants agree that he, Edward, would remain overlord of Scotland. All agreed in order to be considered. On 17 November 1292, Edward announced that John Balliol would become the new King of Scotland. Subsequent Scottish Kings thought that Robert the Bruce would have been a better selection, but that Edward chose Balliol under the premise that he would be easily manipulated by Edward. A key point during this period is the Scottish Clergy’s determination to maintain religious independence from the authority of Archbishop of York in England. Scotland, because of a papal bull from the Pope in 1174, was considered a “special daughter, no one in between”. The Clergy thought that any threat to Scotland’s independence would be a threat to the independence to the Scottish Church.
This oldest known depiction of the Battle of Bannockburn is found in the Scotichronicon, from c. 1440s. For a complete history of this book, see “Book of Paisley” at: http://www.ilovescotland.net.
The Scottish ideal of independence and England’s continual meddling into Scotland’s affairs, including forcing appeals to English courts and demands that Scotland take up arms against France, caused Edward’s ideal of manipulation of Balliol to never reached fruition. Despite Balliol’s allegiance to Edward and England, he knew the Scots would not take kindly to taking up arms with France at the command of another monarch. Further, Scotland had opened up trade with France and Germany, providing economic gains for the country.
Two major battles and Scottish icons appeared that would lead to Scotland’s independence from England – William Wallace’s defeat of an English army at the Battle of Stirling in 1297, and Robert the Bruce’s victory at Bannockburn in 1314.
Battle of Roslin Monument
An equally important battle for Scottish independence was fought at Roslin near the Rosslyn Castle and Chapel in 1303. This important battle in the Wars of Scottish Independence was fought on the 24th February 1302/1303. (Until 1600 the year began on the 25th March and ended on the 24th March). A Scottish army of 8,000 men under Sir John Comyn and Sir Simon Fraser marched 16 miles from Biggar to confront an English army of 30,000. However the English army was split into 3 columns and the Scots dealt with each in turn with great slaughter. For some reason this important battle is NOT well covered in any scholastic history books (maybe because Comyn lost out to Bruce in the later contest for leadership of Scotland).
While Wallace’s leadership and victory boosted Scottish confidence, Bruce’s even greater defeat of Edward II’s army at Bannockburn bolstered Scotland’s vision of freedom and independence from England. Edward II, now King of England marched 20,000 troops toward Bannock, where Bruce had strategically placed his 6,000-7000 Scots around a “burn” just across the narrow bridge. The weary English army had problems finding solid fighting ground in the burn, which placed them at a huge disadvantage. More importantly, Bruce had mentally prepared his Scottish brothers for the battle before the battle took place.
Robert Burns poem of Bruce’s march to Bannockburn vividly depicts the “Cause” that faced his men as they awaited Edward’s men. Their confidence was at an all-time high because of the many battles Bruce had won in claiming back land from the English. Nonetheless, Bruce saw it fit to further bolster their confidence by depicting the problem and the reason they were fighting, as well as to the final outcome.
Robert Bruce’s March to Bannockburn
Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled, Scots, wham Bruce has aften led, Welcome to your gory bed, Or to Victorie! Now's the day, and now's the hour; See the front o' battle lour; See approach proud Edward's power - Chains and Slaverie! Wha will be a traitor knave? Wha can fill a coward's grave? Wha sae base as be a Slave? Let him turn and flee! Wha, for Scotland's King and Law, freedom's sword will strongly draw, Free-man stand, or Free-man fa', Let him on wi' me! By Oppression's woes and pains! By your Sons in servile chains! We will drain our dearest veins, But they shall be free! Lay the proud Usurpers low! Tyrants fall in every foe! Liberty's in every blow!- Let us Do or Die! 
The victory at the burn near Bannock, which became known as the Battle of Bannockburn, marked the turning point in Scotland’s quest for freedom and independence. The fight for independence took several more years, until when in April 6, 1320, Bernard de Linton, Abbot of Arbroath Abbey and Chancellor of Scotland penned a letter from the ordinary people of Scotland to the Pope declaring Scotland’s desires to be recognized as a Sovereign Nation.
The victory at the burn near Bannock, which became known as the Battle of Bannockburn, marked the turning point in Scotland’s quest for freedom and independence.
Bronze Equestrian Statue of King Robert Bruce.. Sculptor: Charles D’O Pilkington Jackson. Located at Bannockburn Heritage Centre grounds.
Declaration of Arbroath
The fight for independence took several more years, until when in April 6, 1320, Bernard de Linton, Abbot of Arbroath Abbey and Chancellor of Scotland penned a letter from the ordinary people of Scotland to the Pope declaring Scotland’s desires to be recognized as a Sovereign Nation.
There are a couple of passages from the Declaration that define “The Cause” of Scotland’s fight for independence.
“Yet if he (Robert Bruce) should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and subverter of his own right and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule.
It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.?
450 years later, the Founders of America looked to the Declaration of Arbroath to pen the Declaration of Independence to declare Americas independence from England. If one places the two documents side-by-side, one would see the obvious similarity between them, and more importantly, the ideal, the “cause” – liberty (freedom from tyranny). As Patrick Henry stated so resolutely, “Give me Liberty, or give me death.”
In 1998, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating every April 6, the date the Declaration of Arbroath was signed, as Tartan Day. A Senate spokesperson said, “The Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on 6 April 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.
The importance for Freemasons is imminently clear – the “Cause” – “Liberty” – is our constant quest. Just as the Battle of Bannockburn and the Declaration of Arbroath declared the cause for Scotland, the Declaration of Independence of America and the Revolutionary War proclaimed the cause for Washington and the Founders of the United States.
All Freemasons need to remember the Celebration of Bannockburn and stand ever ready to take a stand in defense of Liberty for all mankind.
A “Special Thank You” is extended to Professor Thomas Lamb, a native of Scotland and well versed in this subject, for his review and contribution to the article.
 Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013
Education Scotland. Scotland 1286-96: The Succession Problem and the Great Cause. Retrieved from: http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/higherscottishhistory/warsofindependence/successionandgreatcause/keyfigures.asp
 Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013.
 Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013.
The Declaration of Arbroath, 1320, retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/independence/features_independence_arbroath.shtml
 Gunn, N., 2013. Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. The Highlander Magazine, March/April, 2013.
David McCuistion is a retired Navy Officer and a Navy Junior ROTC Program Manager and Instructor. He is President of Clan Uisdean, USA, who are descendents of McDonald of Sleat, and also of Robert the Bruce. He is a member of the Royal Order of Scotland and a Life Member of the Scottish American Military Society (SAMS).
As July 4, 2013 approaches, I feel compelled to post the Declaration of Independence, and some other facts about the Founders, as a reminder of the importance of this date 237 years ago when a group of men decided it was time to break all ties with the King of Great Britain and begin the formation of a new governmental ideal — Liberty — to which was added Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I recommend that everyone take time to read it, which outlines the cause, the justification, and the impending actions they were about to take.
I also added a short list of some of the sacrifices suffered as a result of their actions; sacrifices that many have freely given down through the 237 years since the Declaration was promulgated to the world. Let us never take for granted the blessings we have today, the sacrifices of many to preserve the Liberty we cherish that have prevented our living under the a tyrannical government.
May we always as stated in the Holy Scriptures, “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith God has set you free, and do not be entangled in the yolk of bondage.”
Declaration of Independence
[Adopted in Congress 4 July 1776]
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America
When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy of the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence.They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levey war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Their pledge being so dedicated and resolved, some of the Founders did indeed expend all their fortunes and some losing their lives in their effort to institute a government of the people, by the people and for the people; with the ideal of Liberty for all as the foundational ideal of the Government of the United States of America.
Here is a listing of some of those sacrifices:
Two of them became presidents of the United States, and among the others were future vice presidents, senators, and governors. But not all were so fortunate.
Nine of the 56 died during the Revolution, and never tasted American independence.
Five were captured by the British.
Eighteen had their homes — great estates, some of them – looted or burnt by the enemy.
Some lost everything they owned.
Two were wounded in battle.
Two others were the fathers of sons killed or captured during the war.
Lewis Morris of New York, for example, must have known when he signed the Declaration that he was signing away his fortune. Within weeks, the British ravaged his estate, destroyed his vast woodlands, butchered his cattle, and sent his family fleeing for their lives.
Another New Yorker, William Floyd, was also forced to flee when the British plundered his property. He and his family lived as refugees for seven years without income. The strain told on his wife; she died two years before the war ended.
Carter Braxton of Virginia, an aristocratic planter who had invested heavily in shipping, saw most of his vessels captured by the British navy. His estates were largely ruined, and by the end of his life he was a pauper.
The home of William Ellery, a Rhode Island delegate, was burned to the ground during the occupation of Newport.
Thomas Heyward Jr., Edward Rutledge, and Arthur Middleton, three members of the South Carolina delegation, all suffered the destruction or vandalizing of their homes at the hands of enemy troops. All three were captured when Charleston fell in 1780, and spent a year in a British prison.
So should it be when we Pledge our Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America – The American Flag – that we too resolve our lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
This Flag, the American Flag, is the emblem of civil and religious liberty and well deserves a place of honor whereever it’s citizens meet. It is our fervent hope that we citizens will stand ever ready to shield and protect it, as we fostere and promote that Divine Principle of which it is a symbol throughout the world.
Divine Principle — Liberty, to which our Founders added Life and the Pursuit of Happiness.
The ideal of liberty motivates our patriotic zeal and loyalty to the Flag and our Country. And, when our liberty is threatened, that same motivation drives to stand as ramparts of liberty, taking up the sword of freedom to protect it and those who swear or affirm their allegience to the Flag and to America – The United States.
That Divine Principle – Liberty – was of primary concern to our Founding Fathers when they were searching for a foundational ideal upon which to build our great country; a divine principle that would be symbolized in the flag of the new nation.
The Founders were well read, highly intelligent leaders, some men of the Cloth who were aware of the many philosophical ideal upon which to create a country. They knew about Plato’s writings in The Republic; they knew about Scotland’s quest for freedom from England. They knew about a letter written from Scottish Leaders called the Declaration of Arbroath, sometimes called the Declaration of Independence of Scotland, in which there is a single line that defines their ideal for America:
“It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for liberty – and that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Thomas Jefferson reminds us in one of his over 2700 quotations about liberty and other subjects, when in 1787 he said, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
The Flag is a symbol of patriotism.
Congress proclaimed the design of on June 14, 1777. Prior to that there were many designed of Flags in each of the colonies and localities. One of the most common was the “Don’t Tread on Me” Flag.
President Wilson officially proclaimed Flag Day on June 14, 1916 suggesting that all American fly the U.S. Flag to show our allegience and patriotism to the American Ideal. There have been many writings as to the symbolism of the Colors. However, the one that speaks to the patriotic ideals of the Country more appropriately reflects the American Ideal.
Red: our zeal and courage for Flag and all it represents to Americans. It is also symbolic of the blood shed in the preservation of liberty and America.
White: our purity, our honest, our integrity of actions and treatment of others.
Blue: our loyalty (True Blue) to our country and the ideal of liberty.
Upon hearing of President Wilson’s Flag Day proclamation, a noted Washington DC Patriot, journalist and motivational speaker named John Daley immediately wrote a poem called “A Toast To The Flag” in which is symbolized and memorialized the ideal of liberty.
Toast to the Flag
June 14, 1917
Here’s to the Red of it
There’s not a thread of it,
No, nor a shred of it,
In all the spread of it,
From foot to head,
But heroes bled for it,
Faced steel and lead for it,
Their fortitude embedded in it,
Precious blood shed for it,
Bathing it Red
Here’s to the White of it
Thrilled by the sight of it,
Who knows the right of it,
But feels the might of it,
Through day and night?
Womanhood’s care for it,
Made manhood dare for it,
Their integrity sincere in it,
Purity’s prayer for it,
Keeps it so white!
Here’s to the Blue of it
Beauteous view of it,
Heavenly hue of it,
Star-spangled dew of it,
Constant and true;
Diadem gleam for it,
States stand supreme for it,
Their loyalty true for it,
Liberty’s beam for it,
Brightens the blue!
Here’s to the whole of it
Stars, Stripes and Pole of it,
Body and soul of it,
O, and the roll of it,
Sun shining through;
Hearts in accord for it,
Swear by the sword for it,
Their faith unshakable for it,
Thanking the Lord for it,
Red White and Blue
Take a moment today to remember the meaning and symbolism of the U.S. Flag, the millions of Americans who have paid the ultimate sacrifice preserving the liberty we so cherish.
SGT Ed Mitchell Tribute,
Bushnell National Cemetery,
28 May 2013
Show me a Nation that honors its dead, and I will show you a Nation.
A Nation and people who appreciate the legacy they left as well as that Nation’s appreciation for their sacrifices in helping preserve the liberty we cherish.
It is our way of immortalizing them and the lessons they taught us, the memories they left us, and the important, if not great, accomplishments or achievements of their life.
So it is today as we honor Ed Mitchell as part of the Memorial Day weekend as we take time to honor those whom have gone before us, setting that example of patriotism – a love for our country and the ideal behind our existence; the ideal emblematic in our National Colors that led men and women in our quest of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. His General Order No. 11 in part describes the purpose of Memorial Day and in part our honor of SGT Ed Mitchell. Gen. Logan said it is for:
“preserving and strengthening those kind and fraternal feelings which have bound together the soldiers, sailors, and marines who united to suppress ……… rebellion.”
General Logan also proclaimed that we should guard their graves with sacred vigilance.
In 1915, after presiding over the funeral of a friend and fellow soldier, Lt Col John McCrae wrote the following poem about the American Cemetery in Flanders Fields, Belgium.
John McCrae, 1915
Between the crosses, row on row
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved,
In Flanders fields.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Moina Michael was so inspired by the poem that in 1918 she replied with her own poem entitled We Shall Keep The Faith. These four lines pointently supplement the ideals above, as well as making a new proclamation on the importance of honoring veterans, family members and even friends.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
(Her entire poem can be read at the end of the tribute.)
Eddie, as most of us knew him, made a personal sacrifice at a time when duty called and Eddie answered the call just like millions of others have down through history. Like many of us who, during the time in our lives when our freedom is threatened, Eddie set aside his personal goals, his vision for his personal future, to be part of that rampart against tyranny, to serve his country.
It is for us, his family and others who remain, to cherish his memory, to never forget the personal sacrifice, the memories of conflict, agony and pain he kept within after he came back home from Vietnam to carry on with his vision and goals for his life, and that of his family.
In a few moments the customary three volleys will be fired, followed by the playing of Taps.
This practice of firing three volleys over a grave originated in the old custom of halting the fighting to remove the dead from the battlefield. Once each side had finished retrieving their dead, they would fire three volleys to indicate that they were ready to go return to the fight.
The fight for us is our eternal quest for Liberty as directed in the Holy Scriptures and, as it says in the Declaration of Arbroath, the Declaration of Independence of Scotland that was used as a template for America’s Declaration of Independence,
”For we fight not for honors, nor glory, nor riches, but for Liberty and that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Taps became the more solemn manner of returning to the fight. As it is played think about these, some of the unofficial words for Taps.
Words to Taps
Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
God is nigh.
Thanks and praise,
For our days,
‘Neath the sun,
Neath the stars,
‘Neath the sky,
As we go,
This we know,
God is nigh.
We miss you Eddie and are honored to have known you during your time on this earth.
We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael, November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
Multiple Intelligences are rarely, if ever, talked about in leadership circles. Two that might be discussed are intellectual intelligence (IQ) and Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
In 1983 Howard Gardner, in his book Frames Of Mind, wrote about seven types of multiple intelligences in human beings. Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, and that strength or weakness in one area or ability does not necessarily correlate to another intelligence. For example, the theory postulates that a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has more difficulty on this task.
While Gardner did not mention leadership in any of his multiple intelligences, it is easily recognizable that to be an effective, efficient and productive leader, intelligence is quite naturally required. As such, I believe there are four kinds of intelligence that directly affect one’s leadership capabilities and methodologies to become a successful leadership practitioner.
A holistic approach to leadership requires knowledge, i.e. intelligence, is these areas: Physical (PQ); Intellectual (IQ); Emotional (EQ); and Spiritual (SQ). They are interrelated in that they build on each other as one’s intellectual level increases over time through normal life experiences, academic achievements and professional expertise in our chosen fields.
Christine McDougall, on her website Positive-Deviant, writes about the importance of Physical Intelligence (PQ) to the overall well-being of personal health and fitness. Physical Intelligence relates to Gardner’s bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. Furthermore, current studies and findings prove the necessity of maintaining a strong fitness level to improve longevity and body functions. PQ theory says that individuals need be knowledgeable in fitness, nutrition, and bodily wellness.
Life-long learning is widely regarded as the increase in the intellectual level – IQ – of everyone wishing to improve one’s mind, professional expertise, and position in life. IQ contributes significantly to the personal “wisdom” one attains throughout the maturing process. Henri Bergson, in his book Creative Evolution reminds us: “To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” Continuing education is a never-ending process in raising one’s intellectual level, i.e. IQ.
Daniel Goleman, writing in What Makes A Leader, says that his findings have shown that the most effective leaders all have a high degree of Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) says EQ is associated with better performance in nine different areas of leadership and management. Goleman’s research clearly shows that EQ is the sine qua non – absolute requirement – of leadership.
Cindy Wigglesworth, in her book SQ 21, outlines from her research 21 key elements to Spiritual Intelligence (SQ); which she emphatically differentiates from religious and religious beliefs. She believes that SQ is developed over time, with significant practice. SQ is defined as: “The ability to behave with wisdom and compassion, while maintaining inner and outer peace, regardless of the situation.” Wisdom and compassion being the pillars of SQ.
In The Servant As Leader, Robert Greenleaf lists twelve characteristics of Servant Leadership that practitioners need to exhibit in order to be classified as a servant leader. Two of Greenleaf’s characteristics – Awareness and Self-Awareness are directly related to the above four intelligences.
Self-Awareness refers to having a deep understanding of oneself – emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, drives, and “who we really are” as we exist in the world. It requires reflection on personal behaviors, interactions with others, and our overall decision-making posture in leadership. Further, it refers to the moral and ethical value system we use as the foundation of our leadership practices.
Awareness refers to our surroundings with whom we interact and build relationships in our leadership positions. Awareness also refers to a leaders abilities to consider the points-of-view or behaviors of others in an attempt to logically learn the inner-self of their behaviors.
The following briefly lists some of the salient points of each of these four leadership intelligences.
Physical Intelligence (PQ).
- Ability to listen, identify and respond to internal messages about one’s physical self. Pain, hunger, depression, fatigue and frustration are examples.
- Learn about and understand the mind body connection. For instance: stomach telling mind it is time to stop eating; understanding the difference between the internal voice of wants vs. needs; the bodies need for exercise when we want to be lethargic.
- Determining our body’s perfect weight, fitness level and perfect diet.
Intellectual Intelligence (IQ).
- Enrolling in classes of higher learning, obtaining a second degree, technical expertise improvement classes.
- Research intellectual topics such as philosophy, religion, symbolism, leadership, psychology.
- Surrounding yourself with people or organizations where life-long learning exists.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
- Learn principles and practices for improvements in Self-Awareness and Self-Management: self-confidence; self-control; adaptability; initiative.
- Becoming more socially: empathetic; service orientation to others and the organization.
- Relationship Management: inspirational leadership practices; change management; conflict resolution skills; teamwork building techniques.
Spiritual Intelligence (SQ).
- Deeper understanding of one’s own world view, life purpose, value hierarchy and controlling personal ego to consider the higher self.
- Self-mastery of one’s spiritual growth, living your purpose, values and vision, sustaining faith in and seeking guidance from a higher power.
- Universal awareness of world view of others, limitations and power of human perception, awareness of spiritual laws and transcendental oneness
- Social Mastery/Spiritual Presence: wise and effective mentor of spiritual principles; leadership change agent; making wise and compassionate decisions; and being aligned with the ebb and flow of life.
Gardener’s “mind’s eye” theory refers to the human ability to “visualize” or “see” images in the mind. Arguably, this requires deep and intense thinking in order to see objects in the mind that cannot be touched or felt. However, sports coaches and teachers will tell you to visualize certain actions, such as hitting a tennis (The Inner Game of Tennis) or golf ball (Little Green Golf Book), throwing a football, or similar activities.
Have you expanded your Leadership Intelligence beyond your own personal views and thoughts? Do you exercise your “minds-eye” in your daily leadership of others? Is leadership required to understand the intelligences of others whom you lead?
I’m interested in your thoughts and comments.
President and General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” In other words it is the art of influencing someone to complete a task while convincing them it is their own idea and something they want to do in the first place.
Notice he said “art”, which indicates that it is not a “science”, that it is a skill acquired through learning, observing, and practicing. Furthermore, since it is not a science, leadership is separate and distinct from management, which is associated with resources such as goods, services, products, procurement and similar functions. Human Resource Management deals with the hiring, orientations, training and policies that deal with employees of the organization.
Management is a complex function, dealing with the science of inventory control, financial planning of procurement, expenses, liabilities and profit. It requires analyzing of the effects of change, including the financial risks to profits and loss. These complexities require accounting, financial management and their associated mathematical compilations.
When all these infrastructures are in place, what is left is the art of influencing and convincing the human factor, the employees, toward the execution of the plans initiated by management.
This is where leadership comes into play in an organization. James C. Hunter in his book The Servant: A Simple Story about the True Essence of Leadership, pointed out that “You manage things, you lead people.” Further, he defines leadership as, “The skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good.”
Complex? I am of the mind it is not all that complex. Difficult? That is another story.
Leadership is a skill and therefore must be learned to be effective. Furthermore, one does not have to be in a top-level leadership position to be a leader.
Maxwell’s Leading from the Middle Myths
Position: “I can’t lead if I’m not at the top.”
Destination: “When I get to the top, then I will learn to lead.”
Influence: “If I were on top, then others would follow me.”
Inexperience: “When I get to the top, I’ll be in control”
Freedom: “When I get to the top, then I’ll no longer be limited.”
Potential: “I can’t reach my potential if I’m not the top leader.”
All-or-Nothing: “If I can’t get to the top, then I won’t try to lead.”
What Maxwell is saying is, “One doesn’t have to be at the top to be a leader.” Nor is he saying that one only learns, or even starts learning, leadership principles when they are in a designated top-level position.
When a person decides on their line of work, that is the time one should begin learning about leadership. One fault of MBA Programs is that their focus is on management, with very little leadership principles and practices being taught.
Another myth is that one has to attend college to learn leadership. Wrong! There are literally thousands of leadership books on the market from which one can learn leadership principles and practices.
A young sailor who worked for me mid-way through my Navy career – Guy Haxton - is a perfect example of the myth that one has to be in a leadership position to be a leader. Seaman Haxton led the following manner:
He learned every aspect of our radio shack onboard ship, every piece of equipment, every system that was made up of this equipment.
He did not hesitate, or have to be told, to train others in the use of the equipment or the various aspects of our communication center.
He could function as a watch supervisor, which required communicating with upper-level management and leadership.
He took the initiative to troubleshoot problem, preventing major disruptions.
Guy Haxton was a leader.
It is really not that complex. Yes, it requires skills to be able to efficiently deliver leadership because we are dealing with people. This is the more difficult part.
Leadership requires practice, experience, making mistakes, control of one’s emotions, listening skills, awareness, self-awareness – Knowing Thyself, empathy, and intense, empathetic listening skills.
Team-building is a much-talked-about leadership topic in today’s business world. While a lot of my leadership skills and practices were achieved through training, a huge amount of it came from my involvement with sporting activities throughout my life; football (quarterback), softball, baseball, umpiring and refereeing, physical fitness competitions and sailing.
As I was watching NASCAR racing last week, I took note of and remembered the team-building training of pit crews, who are key to racing success. In the span of less than fifteen seconds, pit crews can change four tires, refill the fuel tank, clean the windshield, remove litter from the front grill and repair minor damages. I particularly noticed the crew member removing a tire and gently rolling it away. While installing the new tire, another crew member quickly rolled or carried the tire away.
Everyone has an assignment and with methodical excellence carries out their individual tasks, in perfect rhythm with the other team members.
It reminded me of my experiences at sea, the dangers Mother Nature can inflict on ships and boats, and my personal sailing days. Sailing, regardless of the size of the craft, like a NASCAR Pit Crew, requires teamwork expertise and skill to safely sail a craft smoothly through the water.
During one of my sailing classes I remember the instructor, a retired Navy Captain with years of experience sailing his personal 40-foot craft around the world, telling us of the four rules of sailing. These four rules indicate the immense teamwork required to sail a craft, especially when part of a racing team, and can easily be tailored to leadership development, not only as demonstrated by NASCAR Pit Crews, but also in any work environment. They are also quite appropriate to modern team building and teamwork leadership.
Four Rules of Sailing
My sailing instructor explained the four rules of sailing in this manner:
Keep the people in the boat;
Keep the water out of the boat;
Don’t hit anyone; and
You have to look good.
Simple enough wouldn’t you think? I can tell you from experience, it is much more difficult than the rules imply; regardless of the number of people in the boat – i.e. on the team. Let’s look at some of the leadership skills required to follow these rules and smoothly sail – guide – your team to success.
►Keep the people in the boat – On the Team.
Take care of your people. Insure that there basic physiological needs are being met; maintain a safe and secure work environment; treat everyone with respect and dignity to permit a team-connection to the work group; create an environment of empowerment and creativity to build confidence and self-esteem; and lastly permit them to grow emotionally, spiritually and morally in a way that gives meaning and purpose to their lives.
Maintain constant training and life-long learning opportunities to improve personal expertise and skills that contribute to organizational and personal visions.
Create a worthwhile recognition program that instills confidence and creativity. Enable a path to promotion for those super-players with recognized capabilities.
In short, leaders values each team member as in integral cog in the wheel that keep the boat sailing toward its intended objective and the overall mission for success.
►Keep the water out of the boat – Protect them.
Prevent contradictory leadership from sources that disrupt the team and question the motive and legitimacy of the leader. Support them, go to bat for them, take steps to build team-member confidence and trust that says, “I trust that you made the right decision and that you are working for the good of the team.” Mentor them to instill a personal and spiritual connection to you, the leader, and to the team; make them feel like a valued member of the organization.
Help them problem-solve personal issues that prevent their total focus on the team vision and purpose. Take an interest in their well-being.
► Don’t hit anyone – Conflict resolution.
Conflict un-confronted is conflict unresolved.
Leadership must be ready and capable to resolve conflicts regardless of the magnitude of the problem. Leaders need to be skilled in relationship building with empathy, exhibiting a caring attitude about individual success and professional growth.
Create team accountability practices that enable individual team members to resolve internal conflicts – resolve disruptive issues at the lowest level possible.
Leadership requires a keen eye for disruptions in the personal lives of team members that interferes with their ability to perform at high levels of success.
►You have to look good – Professional appearance.
External perception is extremely important to the success of the overall team.
Looking good goes beyond physical appearance of team members. Looking good meant your professional appearance was sharp, neat and clean. Three-day-old, un-shaven 5 o’clock shadow is unacceptable in the business environment. Neatly trimmed and groomed facial hair can be dignified looking and promote a professional attitude.
Team appearance projects a professional customer service attitude that enhances the team abilities to meet the needs of the customer.
In addition, this extends to your physical plant, which to the customer indicates your team and organizational pride. Each team member looks good because they feel that the organization is an extension of themselves – their pride, their professionalism, and their desire to deliver top-notch customer service.
Leadership team building practices – just as in NASCAR and with sailing teams – is a key to organization success. Team cohesion requires a caring and empathic attitude to keep people performing at top-notch levels of performance.
Why do we study History? Arguably, there are many reasons – to learn about past societies, learn about past leaders, to learn valuable skills and attributes of the past, to learn morals and ethical practices that contributed to the greater good of society, and so on.
The key word here is “Learn”, so that one does not make the same mistakes of past societies while concomitantly creating a “Learning Organization”, society, or generation that will sustain from prior learning for generations to come.
In 1990 David L. Steward co-founded World Wide Technology (WWT), Inc. Beginning in 1996, WWT was ranked by VAR Business as one of the Top 500 companies in the US; Inc began ranking WWT beginning in 1997. In 2004 Steward wrote a book about his company called, Doing Business by the Good Book: 52 Lessons on Success Straight from the Bible. WWT is ranked number 24 on the Fortune 2013 Top 100 listing of companies to work for.
You see, history, and the lessons there from, can be learned from a variety of sources, including the Bible, which is chocked full of leadership skills, techniques, strategies and ideals. The New International Version (NIV), Leadership Bible: Leadership Principles from God’s Word is a valuable leadership learning resource. It should be noted, and quite emphatically, that these valuable leadership lessons and practices are not intended solely for churches and other religious organization.
The Learning Organization
Success embodies life-long learning as a practical and sustaining attribute. Leaders know this – as life and organizations evolve, new policies, principles and practices create changes to improve employee effectiveness. Leaders not only train employees on new ideas and practices, they also expect them to research, study and learn on their own.
For a variety of reasons, few organizations keep the same leadership over several years. During the tenure of a particular leader, successes are achieved, affirmations proclaimed and awards are garnered. Success and the rewards achieved can peak, and unless learning continues, begin to plateau. Follow-on leadership must insure enthusiasm does not relax or diminish, which can easily decline into less than effective work ethics. People must remember past practices to sustain efficiency, learn from new ideas, and change accordingly to maintain sustainability.
An effective learning organization will inhibit periods of decline through the building process of an organizational legacy.
Five Attributes of a Learning Organization
The Apostle Paul, in a letter written in AD/NE 62 to the people of Colosse, as laid out in the Leadership Bible, Book of Colossians, outlines five major attributes of a Learning Organization. In the letter, Paul’s desire is for leaders of the church to instill an ideal of learning. In a functional organization, learning takes place at all times, during work, in building relationships, after hours, quite frankly – at all times. Each organization has a curriculum built into the daily functions of all employees. The learning organizational structure – curriculum – is outlined in five attributes.
Standards. Organizational values, employee ethical expectations, and behavioral standards must be outlined clearly, and disseminated in writing to each and every employee, as well as publishing them in the Organization’s policy and procedures.
Instruction. Just knowing of the standards – wisdom – is insufficient for sustainability. Training sessions must be held to explain their meanings and the associated ethical practices required by employees – understanding. Wisdom and Understanding help leaders achieve employee acceptance, as well as buy-in that teaches the importance in instituting the standards into their individual value systems. Employees must understand that they represent the company regardless of their location and whether working or living in their community.
Practice. Practice makes perfect. Practice creates habitual behaviors, which teach personal growth and life-skills. Practice also enables success after failure by teaching what “should” have been done versus what “was” done. Practice builds expertise in professional skills and personal life styles. Practice solidifies the value system associated with professionalism that sustains with growth and learning.
Feedback. Leaders need to constantly and consistently monitor and evaluate performance. Employees require feedback in order to insure practice is productive. And when exceptional or positively productive, public praise is required to build confidence and esteem. Conversely, private feedback is necessary when practice reflects negatively on the individual, the team, and the organization. Private feedback reinforces instruction. It re-teaches required policies and practices, to re-direct the employee’s learning and productivity. It then allows for follow-on practice and future feedback. Feedback teaches for personal growth.
Release. Micro-managing, even micro-leading, is counterproductive to growth and employee effectiveness and efficiency. Constantly keeping an “eye-ball” on those you lead creates an “ask the boss” mentality that inhibits personal confidence and growth. Leaders must release control, leaders must empower others, leaders must let employees make mistakes from which they can learn, leaders must let them grow and function on their own. Sooner or later leaders must let them “drive Dad’s car” to demonstrate that their personal values and behaviors conform with organizational norms and expectations. Release is vitally important to long-term growth and performance.
The attributes of a learning organization create an attitude of endurance, which prevents fall-back to old, unproductive ways, and enables sustainability. Employees desire standards for their own behaviors, they desire to learn and grow, they desire to be empowered to fail or succeed, and they desire to be turned loose to become leaders in their own right.
One intrinsic reward of leadership is knowing that you made a difference in the organizational learning process. Material rewards are short-lived; intrinsic rewards are life-long and become your personal legacy.
I appreciate your thoughts and comments.
While standing in the check-out line in Publix, I listened as a Lady in line ahead of me was explaining some customer service techniques and skills a young female checker needed to improve her expertise: “greet people, smile, be positive, she said.” The young checker never responded, either verbally or non-verbally. I whispered to the Lady, “They don’t teach them customer service skills.” She said, “I know, that is why I do it.” While the young Lady did at least greet me verbally as I paid for my goods, she remained expressionless and failed to even express Publix gratitude for shopping at her store.
Joan Maddox, VP of Client Services for School Dude says, “Client service must be reliable, responsive, reassuring, and empathetic.” She stresses that client service is a commitment, and that it must not be an option, but a requirement of your job. In her Client Service presentations, Maddox quotes Dr. Leonard L. Berry, who is a Distinguished Professor of Marketing and former Texas A&M Professor. Dr. Berry says this about customer expectations:
“Customer expectations of service organizations are loud and clear; look good, be responsive, be reassuring through courtesy and competence, be empathetic but, most of all, be reliable. Do what you said you would do. Keep the service promise.”
Customer Service, customer relations, client services, regardless of how you brand it, it can either positively or negatively affect revenue, organizational vision and customer attitude about the organization. In fact, if you are a customer service representative – and who isn’t? – then “you are” the company or organization you represent. As such, there is a “Servanthood” attitude that must be portrayed in every exchange you have with a client.
J C Penny, founder of JC Penny Company, is famous for saying, “The Customer is always right.” His idea was that Customer Service is priority one at JC Penny. CEO Emeritus of Southwest Airlines, Coleen Barrett, always said about her company, “We are a Customer Service Company, we just happen to fly airplanes.”
Customer Service is a leadership skill that must be trained, practiced, and perfected to insure employees represent the company in the brightest pane possible. Servanthood is a major aspect of customer service, which says that one is “serving” the needs of others. Using Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership ideals, “serving” in this context means “to make them better” than they were when the encounter began. In other words, “healing” the customer’s stress and pain, while relieving them of their perceived burden is a characteristic of quality customer service.
The following are from my experience of over 40 years of providing customer service.
Top 5 Customer Service Principles
1. Establish a vision of Customer Service Expectations. If the company vision and/or mission statement says you will focus on customer service, then establish a program that insures you will do what you say. Follow the practice of Southwest Airlines: “Hire people with a ‘servants’ heart. Customer Service representatives need to care about fostering and promoting the vision and/or mission of the company. Establish standards for those you place in customer service positions: caring attitude; cheerful, happy demeanor; outgoing personality who are assertive and proactive conflict resolvers; courteous and respectful; good communication skills; and gracious in personality.
I recommend a Customer Service Motto that will not only tell the customers your attitude about providing superior service, but also to remind representatives of company expectations. In my last position, our Custodial Services Motto was the following:
“Customer Service is our Purpose, Quality Service is our Goal.”
We used the motto in our Standards and at the end of all our communications. Everyone in the organization knew our standards and our goal of providing superior customer services.
2. Establish a Customer Service Training Program. Train new employees, and re-train periodically current customer service reps, on the visionary expectations. Servanthood is the “practice” of serving. Teach the common behaviors of customer service representative: telephone etiquette; conflict resolution techniques and skills; develop an attitude to resolve the problem to make a positive impression on the customer; and impress upon employees to not take the customer’s anger and negativity personally. Keep the quest alive to resolve the customers complaint.
Customer Service expert Glen Hamilton advises, “Create Happy Employees. Employee beliefs, attitudes and behaviors determine the quality of the customer service provided. Happy employees create happy customers.”
3. Establish relations with customers. JC Penny knew that a happy customer was a returning customer.
Shawn E. Gilleylen, author of “Success with Etiquette: Books of Etiquette” explains the importance of etiquette toward customers – “make customers feel comfortable, valued, and appreciated. Treat them with respect, empathy, and efficiency.” She also says, which I call most important, “Say “Thank you” and “Please” graciously.
4. Monitor and evaluate their performance. Leaders must proactively monitor and evaluate customer relations practices in action – inspect what you expect is a proven leadership principle. Glen Hamilton maintains that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it; the same is for leaders. He suggests several ways to measure customer satisfaction, including surveys, telephone contacts, customer feedback forms, and observing employees to insure they are functioning within prescribed customer service standards.
5. Maintain Customer Service Pride. Recognize employees who demonstrate customer service excellence, who are recognized by customers for superior performance, and who promote company goals within Customer Service missions. Advertise the recognition through company Newsletters. Create a “Customer Service Plaque” and hang it in the main entrance area of the company for everyone to see.
Southwest Airlines is known for two things: low fares and high levels of quality customer service. United States Automobile Association (USAA) seeks to be the provider of choice to the military community. Their employees are personally committed to delivering excellent service and great advice by putting their memberships’ needs (customers) first.
Customer service is “serving” others first. When customers walk out the main entrance of your company fully satisfied, everyone feels good about their accomplishments. Maintaining company Servanthood is vitally important to organizational success.
Thank you for your comments and feedback.