A rising tide lifts all ships. This is a profound statement. Water is an extremely important commodity in history. During the earlier times, it was used as the main mode of long-distance transportation. It was used to grow food. A place with abundant, clear, running water is a great place to build an empire.
The tides are rising. I do believe that every entrepreneur in our country can feel this. We feel it at SEO Hacker.
And now that the tides have risen, we have realized that we lack captains in our fleet. Leaders.
You see, we are a service-based, knowledge and technology driven organization. This means we have no inventory but a lot of manpower. Smart, dynamic people with diversified backgrounds and outlooks in life.
Growing from 30 people last 2018 to 51 people this 2019 does not sound like a lot. But that is a 42% growth. Of course, we only hire when there is a need because of increasing number of projects and clients.
To save money and to protect our culture, we are hiring mostly fresh graduates or people with not much work experience. Our initial offer in salary is also not big as we desire to hire people with a driven mission – not mercenaries who are after a high salary.
We improved our hiring process extensively to weed out people who will not fit our culture. Now that we people who are a great cultural fit working alongside us, we thought that was it. We thought that we can stop there because that was what we needed and nothing more.
We were dead wrong.
What we had were great people but not enough leaders. The people in our team were learning so much and had a colossal amount of growth in terms of their work, career and knowledge in digital marketing. However, they sorely needed guidance to grow more in terms of professionalism, maturity, and loyalty.
2019 was the year I planned to get some of my life back. It has been a very good year by God’s grace and wisdom.
Now I realize that 2020 is the year that we need to raise leaders.
I have been a student of leadership, management and entrepreneurship for as long as I can remember. I am also a teacher.
So now the looming question in my mind is: How can I commit to teach leadership to people in my team who really want to step up and become well-intentioned, sacrificial and competent leaders?
You see leadership is not a reward, it is a responsibility. People who simply want more pay and recognition should not step up into leadership roles. We would rather just give them more pay and recognition and have them stay where they are than put them in positions of leadership.
In leadership, the heart to serve has to be there. It has to be of more importance than the heart to harvest for one’s own benefit.
Serving other people does not mean being subservient to them. When you reprimand others or tell other people off, that is a form of service. When you eat packed lunch with your team members, that is a form of service. When you train someone to succeed you in your operational role, that is a form of service.
A lot of people today when bumped up into leadership roles feel like it is a reward for their hard work. And so they avoid work that seems below them because it seems silly to them. Or they push their weight around others because of their position (A.K.A. power-tripping). This is horrible and is mostly why people who are not servant-leaders at heart should not be put in leadership roles.
All these things in consideration, leadership is not instinctively developed through work. It must be studied, and then applied and so it is really learned.
I have read a handful of books about leadership. Coupled with the other books I have read about focus, entrepreneurship, management, and other business psychology concepts, I have dedicated 2020 to teaching these things to potential leaders in our team.
2020 is the year we have become a leadership institute that happens to be great at digital marketing and SEO.