A long time ago I embraced the idea of leadership as service. If leaders take care of their teams, their teams will take care of their customers, and their customers will take care of the company. If we’re going to lead an organization, a group, a product, or a yoga class, the last thing we should do is play the “look at me and look what I can do” card.
This is what so many leaders get wrong. They bury themselves in their work and forget the crux of their role—to support their team members, individually and as a group, and spend the vast majority of their time removing roadblocks so that their teams can do their best work. The roadblocks can be funding, revenue, processes, procedures, services, and the list goes on.
It takes a tremendous amount of two-way trust to lead—leaders have to trust their teams and vice versa. It’s about crossing the finish line together, not beating one another to the end, whatever the end is. Just as the Lean Startup revolutionized how we see entrepreneurship and management, I hope that this idea of leadership as service revolutionizes the way we see company culture. A leader needs to be the last in line, not the first. It’s so much easier to push than to pull.