On Fire to Serve
One important thing that 15 years of being a volunteer firefighter has taught me is the importance of being in service to others. The core of what it means to be a firefighter is so deeply rooted in the concept of serving others that it becomes ingrained into the fabric of who we are. While undoubtedly this is an extremely important part being a firefighter, I firmly feel that it is a critical leadership skill that can be applied to your work and personal lives. The idea that I am here to serve others is a concept I call attitude of service and it is something that has taught me several important lessons over the years. These lessons have led me to fully appreciate what it means to serve those around me.
Developing an attitude of service is not a new concept but it is one that can get lost in our own desire to grow as individuals. It starts with having a desire to serve, understanding the needs of those we serve, and making the choice to put the focus on serving others first. We all have needs that must be met, and it is critical to understand the role of those needs in the overall success of the team. By recognizing the needs of those around you, it will enable you to be prepared to serve them most effectively.
As you work to develop an attitude of service, here are four ways that can help you learn to successfully serve others:
1. Listen to them
Have you heard the quote “We have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak,”? That sets a pretty strong message about the amount we listen in contrast to how much we talk. By listening, we can learn what their needs are and know what we can do to best serve them.
2. Remove obstacles to their success
If a person has needs that are not being met, it is an obstacle to them being successful. If we can do something to meet those needs, we remove an obstacle to allow them to do the things they are best suited for, while creating opportunities for them to be successful.
3. Commit to growing them
If we really want to serve, our focus must be on the process of growing people. The more we invest ourselves into others, the further we can see them grow. It is about pushing people out of their comfort zones and helping them see their potential to be better than they were before.
4. Remain humble
Humility says we are not so important that we lose track of what really matters. Being humble reminds us that we are not the most important part of achieving the mission of our organization. Often we need the people around way more than they need us.