The Roman Emperor Titus (39 – 81 A.D.) once said on reflecting at dinner that he had done nothing to help anybody all day, “Friends, I have lost a day.” It is embracing such a servant attitude that is so often lacking in the business world today. Imagine if Wall Street investment bankers, mortgage brokers, and auto company CEOs, and movers and shakers in Washington, D.C. had just made it their daily mantra: “how can I best serve your needs today?” we would not have nine-plus percent unemployment, record foreclosures, lost retirements, “gas guzzler” entitlement programs, and an economy struggling to find any sense of consistency.
One of the best displays of a servant attitude I have ever witnessed was from an administrative assistant name Amy. No matter what the complaint or who was complaining, Amy was first to offer an apology for any problems caused or inconveniences served up by others, which was usually followed up with “I will take care of that for you.” When I overheard her defuse an incident with her kind words and smile, I took her aside and said “You have such an awesome servant attitude, and it’s a pleasure to work with you.” Her eyes immediately teared up and she replied, “That is the nicest thing anyone has said to me in the ten years I have worked here. You have just made it all worthwhile.” Just a simple acknowledgement of someone’s desire to help others first is usually all the reward such individuals accept, albeit grudgingly, because they do it without expectation of anything in return—it is an outward expression of their inner spirit.
In the same way a burning candle loses nothing to light another candle, so it is with helping others.
- The best approach is to embrace a worldview that includes helping others in all arenas of life and in a kind manner without expectation of any personal reward
- Recognize that any individual recognition is most often the result of a team effort.
- Those other team members may be just as visible as the individual being recognized—or they could be completely invisible, yet the degree of their “visibility” does not diminish the value of their contribution.
- Serving in any role as a mentor or teacher to others on the job or in the community is a clear expression of the desire to help others succeed.
- Knowledge works like money—the more you spread it around and keep in circulation, the more it grows.