As some of you might now I’ve been interested in leadership principles some years now. Last summer I’ve decided to actually do something with it and signed up for the Servant Leadership Academy.
Every five to six weeks I spent two days with my class and listen to great inspirators. These inspirators can be of any type; successful entrepreneurs, board members of great companies, authors of leadership books, trainers & coaches, CEO’s of international companies and even people with a sport career. They all shared us their experiences with leadership in general. All of them agree that the traditional ‘power’ model doesn’t hold very long; new leaders listen to their employees and possess empathic powers. It is all about servant leadership; leaders that lead by serving others.
Last module I was grasped by a phenomenon named ‘hostmanship’. To put it blunt; hostmanship is the missing link between employees and clients. For companies to be more successful it is crucial that all employees of a company, including the receptionists and board level members, deliver the same service. Success is anchored within the relation between an organization (i.e. the employees) and its clients; not within the products. This I have to agree. Traditional software project companies all deliver more or less the same product; i.e. software projects. What makes them different is their relation with the client. It is the client that decides to return to you and ask you to do more business with him.
I always thought that our employees should service the client the way they would like to be serviced themselves. This proves to be wrong, since people differ and your preferred service level doesn’t always match the one of your client. You should service the client the way it wants to be serviced itself. Yeah, pretty straightforward but oh so true. You should adopt yourself to the mindset and wishes of your client and base your service on this; even if it is not your style. This doesn’t necessarily aligns with the ‘customer is king’ paradigm. Your employees won’t deliver the service requested by your client if they don’t want too or don’t believe in it. And since they interact with your client, i.e. they represent your organization, this usually results in a client lost. So basically, it all boils down in the interpretation skills of your employees. Can they figure out what kind of client they’re dealing with? Can they adopt their service according to the unspoken wishes of this client? These kind of questions form the base of hostmanship. Your employees should let your client feel welcome.
Another valid question is how to relate hostmanship to your mission; something i’m currently working on. Fact is, although our product is better the ones of our competitors, our client(s) are not always are of this. What makes JTeam different? What do our clients experience when working with JTeam? What is our added value on top of our products? As should be clear it has something to do with hostmanship; our relation with the client and the service level of our employees. The exact definition of our implementation will eventually make the difference.