If anyone has ever met me, they would know that one of my favorite things in life is ice cream. One of my other ‘favorites’ in life is servant leadership. If you think about it, ice cream and leadership are pretty similar.
Chocolate cherry, vanilla, black cherry, strawberry cheesecake, mint chocolate chip. We all have our top five (or fifty) favorite flavors, and for the most part, every person’s preference is a little bit different. Such as ice cream, leadership comes many different flavors and preferences. Servant, transformational, situational, team, strategic, so does the list of leadership “flavors” go on and on. Just like ice cream, all our younger years we spend searching for our flavor, yet once we find it, we seldom branch out and try new ones. Sometimes we may be willing to try something new, but often we go back to what feels comfortable and what we know will make us feel good. However, there can be little triumphant joys in trying a new option, and potentially finding a new favorite.
Some people commit themselves to a particular kind of leadership and are unwilling to try anything else.
Before I continue, take a second to think:
When was the last time you left an ice cream store unhappy?
Did you want chocolate or vanilla?
Did you want sprinkles on it?
Dipped in chocolate?
One scoop? Two scoops?
In the end of this long process you end up leaving with something that you are happy with, even if it is not the same exact ice cream you envisioned at the beginning.
People tend to lose track of the idea that trying new things helps us remember what drew us to our favorites. Even if we try something that doesn’t give us a new favorite, we might find a new favorite way to understand our particular form of ice cream (or leadership).
Now, as fun as it is to eat ice cream by yourself (one scoop, one gallon..who’s counting), there’s times others may want to eat ice cream with you. During those times, will you share? Will you be an ice cream eater or and ice cream server? Are you the type of person to share your talents and abilities with others or keep them to yourself? In real life I am 100% an ice cream eater. In leadership, I am an ice cream server. By scooping every ounce of ice cream out of my dish, I am able to take my knowledge of leadership, share it with others through my words and actions, and pass it on.
After trying a few flavors myself, I found that servant leadership is the leadership style that works best for me. However, unlike ice cream, I won’t be mad if this doesn’t end up being your favorite flavor. We all have our own ways of equipping others with the ability to grow, therefore encouraging your own growth.
Take a second to think:
How many flavors of ice cream have you tried?
How did you find you favorite flavor of ice cream?
How many “flavors” of leadership have you tried?
If you haven’t tried many, what will you do to find your next flavor of leadership?
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