Last week we explored the role that spending Time Together plays in building community within our teams. This week we will look at another crucial activity that strengthens the communal bonds of your team – Sacrificial Service.
The power of serving others is not a new idea; and servant leadership is a hot topic for many these days. Serving your team members out of your abundance is a good thing. You can give your time, your dollars, and your help in a variety of ways. Sacrificial serving costs something more. It may mean staying late to coach a team member dealing with a tough situation. It may mean taking on an extra load when time is at a premium, because a co-worker’s child has a ballgame. Sacrificial Service is helping a team member when you do not easily have the time or capacity; it is sacrifice (giving up something you want to keep in order to help another).
Let’s look at a few aspects of Sacrificial Service:
- Put others before yourself – Sacrificial Service requires that you think of others as more important than yourself. If you do, you will put their needs above your own. When you do this consistently, people will take notice.
- Promote sharing needs – People must feel safe and free to share their needs. Set the tone by sharing your needs first. Ask others how they are and what they need and truly listen to their answers. Take concrete steps to meet the needs of your team.
- Serve outside of work – It might be easy for you to step up to the plate and serve sacrificially at the office, but that is not enough. True service must continue when the work day is done. Are you willing to help your co-worker move into a new house on a Saturday during football season? Are you willing to meet for an early breakfast meeting to accommodate a team member’s family obligations?
- Be willing to be served – Are you also willing to be served? For some, it is much harder to accept service and help from others than it is to be the server. For an atmosphere of service to truly change your workplace culture, it has to be a two-way street.
Another opportunity to put Sacrificial Service into play involves serving together. This could be a team community service day when you combine efforts to clean up a local river or park. It could be several members of your team volunteering to mentor local elementary school students. It is less important what the actual activity is and more important that you do it together. You sacrifice, side-by-side, for the sake of your community. There is an almost unmatchable sense of community to be achieved by doing something meaningful and sacrificial together.
By Russell Sarratt