The Importance of a Servant Leader Mindset

Meginley’s transitional leadership segues nicely with what is known as a servant-leader mindset. When Jim Ball owned his own HVAC company, he focused on putting the needs and desires of others ahead of his own. In an article, he wrote for this publication, How Servant Leadership Made My Company Better, Ball said that servant leadership is not about hoping to become a better leader whose reward is meeting all their financial needs.

“A true servant would never perform their acts of service with the end motivation of leading others,” Ball says.

Servant leadership is often cited as being key to developing next-generation teams.
Servant leadership is often cited as being
key to developing next-generation teams.

For Rob Basnett, this approach is, by nature, who he is. “I’ve never really looked at myself as a leader. I treat people like we are all equal teammates. My inclination is to give our employees the option to be part of something and contribute their thoughts and ideas. This approach invigorates them and me, especially when their ideas get implemented.”

According to Greg Vickers, GV’s entire approach to High-Performance HVAC contracting is through servant leadership.

“Servant Leadership is on top of our whiteboard at every meeting. We stress that not only are we in the service industry and serving others is a privilege, but this is the only way to become the best leaders possible. Again putting others before self.”

Training Tomorrow’s Leaders

When training the next generation of leaders for your business, Meginley writes that current company leaders need to foster active learning, which he defines as providing education that doesn’t only depend on passive listening. He says, “Active learning experiences help learners arrive at the conclusion themselves.”

For Jim Brown, this is how his father taught him and how he taught his son.

“My father taught me the basics of running a successful HVAC business and allowed me to learn the rest independently. My successor is my son, and I used the same approach with him. From my perspective, the ingredient that must be common between teacher and student is the ability to understand that the mission is to service the needs of others in the most economical way possible.

Yesterday’s Approach May Not Work Today

“The method for doing that is never the same for any two people. And by the way, the generation gap is real, and something that worked 10 years ago may not work today. So the transition from the existing to the next generation of leadership is a moving target. You have to adapt and be open to new ideas. Isn’t that what any leader should do?”

Brown adds that some training does have to come from the outside. Basnett agrees and says he has used leadership training offered by BDR. He also says that you must be available to coach, guide, and encourage those team members you want to consider for future leadership roles.

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