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Leadership is Service

Students come to Harvard Business School with aspirations to be great leaders, but how well do we actually understand the people we are being trained to serve? Whether it is serving the base of the pyramid, the person next door, a customer, or a shareholder, every business and organization has the underlying objective of service. And service must be learned by experience.

Like accounting or finance class, volunteering isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when we look for ways to spend a weekend. But as with classes, the experience of volunteering is something that can drive us to be better leaders. We learn to identify with individuals, engender trust www.replicabestsale.co.uk, experience diverse situations, and align ourselves with those we serve. Moreover, service allows us to make a difference in someone else’s life today. These relationships and experiences directly shape how we will lead. But, they can habitually fall by the wayside in our day-to-day business lives, which are more often driven by numbers than by the underlying needs of the people being served.

My motivation to promote service and leadership throughout Harvard’s volunteer organizations originates in part from my experience in third grade, when a handful of people changed my life trajectory. My parents were informed that I was severely dyslexic, would probably never learn to read above a fifth-grade level, and would be hard-pressed to attend college. Because my teachers empathized with me, aligned their goals with mine, and expressed unyielding confidence and support in my efforts, I was able to overcome my learning disability. Instead of losing motivation in school and later dropping out, I had the opportunity to attend a place like Harvard. Moreover tag heuer replica for sale , this experience reinvigorated and further educated those who mentored and taught me, and in turn they reinvigorated their peers.

Though we never know what helping someone can yield, what is certain is that one person we help may later change the world. Even a little of our time may be the driver that allows that person to greatly impact the world.

While there is no silver bullet for improving our leadership, understanding service is a major underlying, and often untapped, value driver of businesses. Whereas the corporate “numbers” can only tell us the past, understanding the people we serve can be the best predictor of future success. Learning empathy and having a higher emotional quotient (EQ) is more directly linked to great leadership than IQ breitling superocean replica. This can’t be easily learned in the classroom, but through service we can put ourselves in the shoes of the people we serve, help them, and learn how to be a more effective leader. Without service, I wouldn’t be here to write this article; without service, those leaders who helped me along the way may not have had the learning and development opportunity. We have an opportunity to make a difference.

October 19, 2009
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