Successful Cultures Foster Servant Attitudes


We’ve all been acquainted with the WII-FM attitudes from people in various organizations.

The WII-FM culture (What’s In It For Me?) stems from a lack of leadership to align it’s people with customer-centric and altruistic ways of assisting those they serve.

Some areas you may have seen this are:

  • The stock clerk who never makes eye contact
  • A doctor who talks more than the patient does
  • The sales rep who’s concerned about their commission
  • A mechanic at the service desk who ignores the customer in line
  • The bank cashier who shuts down the window just as you approach (it’s break time after all)

These people may say they like to take care of their customers, but deep down their behavior and actions belie what they core value truly is.

Yet truly great people come from great organizations that foster a servant attitude in their entire company.

A servant attitude doesn’t mean the oft mis-aligned connotation of servant; it means having an attitude of “I’m here to service YOU”, the customer, instead. It’s a culture of putting oneself aside to take care of the needs of another throughout the workday. In fact, it’s what we’re paid to do.

It’s the effort to keep the store clean, know your customer, and talk about the products that makes Trader Joe’s stores a favorite among grocers. The staff are eager to find boxes for customers with heavy loads of loose cranberry juice bottles, and take time to comment on the items being purchased, all in a non-pushy, friendly and casual way.

Servant attitudes are Southwest Airline employees empowered to take care of travelers, always be cheerful and humorous, and do everything possible to make a flier comfortable for the ride. It’s that type of environment that has driven them to be the highest preferred airlines for many years.

One of the best examples of servant attitudes has to be Chick-Fil-A. When employees and managers consistently tells guests “It’s my pleasure”, it’s only a matter of time before that attitude becomes part of the employee’s DNA. There is not a visit goes by without the “Certainly” or “Thank You” that emanates from the staff in their pursuit of taking care of customers first and having a culture that backs it up.

Whatever your personal or corporate agenda is, nothing can differentiate you towards success and customer loyalty than aligning your people with a proven servant attitude. From top-to-bottom and side-to-side, an organization that consistently drives this type of culture will not have to worry about what their competitors are doing. And neither will your customers.

(image: wikimediacommons)

About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on December.10.2017, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Paul, thanks for a great post. We forget that we are elevated when we elevate others. We are served when we serve others. We slip into a scarcity mindset when we think we can’t afford to give something more. And that scarcity mindset becomes self-fulfilling. Great reminder for this (and any) season! Thanks.


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