by Heng Tong
Ever since the beginning of time there have existed countless leaders throughout the world that have both changed history and influenced society. They have taken the initiative to push forward something excitingly new while escaping from their all-too-familiar environment. This stems from following their passion in what they believe in order to improve the world. The endless time and effort that they have been spent demonstrate the ultimate levels of dedication and desire that exist in their hearts. Regardless of what challenges they may have faced, they keep pursuing their ultimate goal of success: creating change.
But what makes them considered as leaders?
We classify certain individuals as leaders for a multitude of reasons ranging from personal characteristics to level of authority. Throughout the centuries, leadership has constantly evolved and developed to fit the perception that people uphold leadership to be. The best leaders have adapted their styles based on the necessities of their respective followers in order to maintain such effectiveness in leading. From the early ages, leadership was sought as true power and authority stemming from military and political roots. Military leaders were classified as physical and strategic while political leaders were deemed powerful and wealthy. This resulted from higher levels of intelligence allowing them to outwit their enemies as well as make optimal decisions. These traits have been overwhelmingly present in the majority of leaders but we can take a leadership to a whole new perspective with leadership redefined.
What exactly does “leadership” mean? Well, Webster defines leadership as “the ability or power to lead other people” while lead is defined as “to guide on a way” or “to direct on a course.” In short, “the book definition” of leadership simply means showing others the way. But we all know you can’t ever go by “the book”. In reality, in order to lead others, you have to able to possess influence which stems from respect. No matter where you are, a person generally listens to someone that he/she respects. It could be a child obeying a parent, a student listening to a teacher, or even an employee supporting a supervisor. Thus, gaining that respect is of upmost importance in order to show true leadership.
So, how do you earn that respect?
People like to be treated fairly while receiving love and affection. This is simply our human nature. From that, this is how positive relationships develop over time which leads to trust and eventually respect. We all have been familiarized with “The Golden Rule” ever since we were little with the idea of “treat others as you want to be treated.” This comes from the mentality that people do not want to be wronged but want to be just treated fairly and justly. So the most effective way to show leadership is to demonstrate how to act by taking the first step forward and tending to the needs of others. This ultimately embodies the idea of “servant leadership.”
Servant leadership is built upon putting the needs of others first and actually helping to achieve success. It is a concept that as a society we have yet to fully grasp since historically leadership has been characterized with sheer power and authority. But if you really think about some of the greatest leaders in history, they actually built their methods upon servant leadership. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Teresa, and Mahatma Gandhi are prime examples of famous individuals that all struggled throughout their lives in order to incite change and based all on one common mindset: serving and loving others.
When it comes to leadership, we tend to focus heavily on the authoritative aspect of it. The thought that having the ability to influence others while establishing a title is a common representation of leadership. Servant leadership takes the influencing others concept without focusing on the actual authority of a leadership role. It is all about building from the ground up instead of looking from the top down. The primary focus is on those being led and figuring out to help them eventually succeed. It’s about being more personable and developing relationships while creating change and progress.
So how does all this tie together?
GSC puts servant leadership at the forefront of its everyday values and fully commits to this leadership style. GSC places clients’ needs and desires at the top of the list because the clients are who we choose to serve and help no matter the challenges that may lie ahead. When it comes to business, GSC believes in establishing close, meaningful relationships by caring and listening to clients’ desires. When I begin any project with a client, I develop my relationships with them on both a business and personal level. I want them to know that I truly care about their needs and strive for their long-term success. I go above and beyond their minimal requirements to show them other opportunities for the future while developing that ongoing relationship. This inevitably leads to the client’s happiness as they know I am willing to put in that extra effort just to serve all their needs.
At GSC, we want to become an industry leader in how we approach management consulting and it ultimately comes down to one simple concept: servant leadership. We live it, breathe it, and show it with leadership redefined.