Leadership as a Service (LaaS): The New _aaS

Long before I joined my peers at client site, there was this guy who had written a big mail complaining about the processes, management, and what not – or that’s how the story goes. Anyway, no one actually knew what happened or, perhaps, they were afraid to share the details, but it created room for assumptions, gossips, and a BAD name for the vendor organisation. How? Well … while he was leaving the (vendor) organisation he sent that mail to the clients instead. In spite repeated efforts to re-gain the trust and make thing better, the scar never disappeared. There was an evident shift in attitude, perception, and dealings by client.

Even if the person was not dealing with the clients directly, it would have been a matter of just sending the email. Of course, the person would not have got a job with either, but the damage was a multitude for the vendor organisation. It was a bad example set by the employee, however it was a bigger failure on part of the leadership – who created such circumstances where the person had to go to such extremes. In times like today: where we are selling software as a service (SaaS), IT as a service (ITaaS), or almost anything as a service (XaaS); should we not be promoting leadership as a service (LaaS)?

Every organisation has large number of people in leadership role, but not everyone is capable to lead: it’s not everyone’s cuppa. To be a good leader, one needs to be considerate of other’s needs before his own. To guide others to do the right thing, one must do the right thing. A great leader, who understands the philosophy and set of practices of the leadership, offering his service to others can be related to being a servant leader. Unlike traditional leaders, one at the top who exercised all the powers, servant leaders share powers with other, perform their duties while nurturing other leaders. After all, the servant leader is a servant first. He is paid like others and works under the same set of rules and policies which are applicable to other employees.

According to Skip Prichard, a servant leader should possess certain qualities or attributes which stands him out from any other manager or leader. A person offering Leadership as a Service, should be humble in nature and respectful to other, irrespective of career stage other are at. Only then can you be receptive to diverse opinions and think from a wider perception. Being mindful of other’s needs before his own, the servant leader should be able to encourage others, mentor them – to become better leaders, and create an environment of trust all around. Another way to develop the respect and trust is to involve others in decision making and convincing them on the best approach, rather than ordering them. Once this trust is developed, the person should (wherever possible) help others with personal life issues, apart from professional ones.

Leadership can be offered as a service while being in an official capacity, as a professional coach, an independent mentor, or any other way. However, the journey from just a leader to a great leader (or a servant leader) is a hard one – it takes lot of practice, self-control, and an act of selflessness. It’s like becoming a monk or a pope, giving back to the community. You may or may not earn a lot of money, but surely will be rewarded with loads of goodwill and following.

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” ~ Dolly Parton


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