You don’t have to be great to serve, but you must serve to be great. -Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon speaking - You don't have to be great to serve, but you have to serve to be great

If you want to be a great leader, you must serve. Jon Gordon got it right when he said this at the World LEADERS Conference. Service comes before greatness, but greatness is not a requirement to serve. I’ve said time and again, to lead you must serve because if you’re not serving others, you are self-serving and that’s not leadership.

Why Greatness Requires Service

Jon takes that view a step further: greatness requires service. How right that is. Here’s why:

1. Great results are achieved through the efforts of many. Nobody will follow you unless you serve.

2. People will go further, faster, harder and achieve more when they know you care. They know you care by your service.

3. Anything achieved for oneself is meaningful only to that person. Achievements for many are great to many. Achievements for many are only done through service.

Ways you can serve

So if greatness requires service, where do you begin? Here are some ideas:

1. Listen more: Hold more meetings for the team, fewer for yourself. Let them set the tone and raise issues that matter to them.

2. Be available: An open door policy from a leader who has no time is meaningless. Schedule time to get work done – not just for meetings. If necessary, schedule time to simply be there for your team. “Office hours” from college professors are a great example to consider.

3. Know your people: If you’re only interested in their professional results, they won’t be interested in your mission. Get to know your team on a more personal level – no, I’m not talking harassment. I mean, who they are outside of work, what are their passions, family interests and other activities?

Jon got it right and reminded us of another great leader, who once said:

Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.  -Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Quote - Everybody can be great because anybody can serve

Question: What other ways do you serve your team and achieve great results?