With snowstorms raging and people locked up in their homes, I am reminded of the fact that real service has a certain amount of reliance on sacrifice.

For those of you who do not experience snow, this may be hard to comprehend, but when it snows a great deal, many people get held up in their homes, particularly the elderly.  Given the slippery roads and sidewalks, it can be treacherous to go out.  A twisted knee or bad fall can spell doom for anyone but this is even more dire for an older person who may be living alone, so a great many of them spend days inside afraid to go out.

I will never forget one day a few winters back when my elderly neighbor was trying his best to shovel his driveway.  My son and I were diligently shoveling ours and we noticed him struggling.  Almost at once, we looked at each other, stopped working on our driveway and walked over to help him.  We got the job done and he was able to move his car out to go get some groceries.

Now, anyone who has shoveled a driveway knows, it is arduous and oftentimes daunting, it simply seems like a never-ending chore as the snow keeps falling.  It’s like digging a hole and being asked to fill it again.  It can be quite depressing.

My point is that doing it for someone else requires sacrifice.  My son and I were cold, and we needed to finish our driveway, yet we decided to sacrifice.  Now I am not recommending that me and my son be brought up for sainthood, we’re far from that, what I am saying is that the best service is delivered by those who are willing to sacrifice, to humble themselves and do something for someone else even if it requires discomfort.

So how do we get that in business?  How can you as a business leader get that same attitude from your employees?

The answer is leadership by example.  If you want your employees to take up the sacrificial mantle, you must show them by doing it yourself.  You must sacrifice for them.  I don’t know what that means in your business but it could be simply helping them periodically with some tasks that are particularly arduous or providing a new tool that makes the job easier or providing training that helps them manage time or troubleshoot some recurring issue.

How can you, as a leader, sacrifice a little for your employees?  How can you humble yourself and work alongside for a bit to show them you are in their service?  How can you be a better example of sacrifice, service, and humility?  Making it a regular practice will spell more success and greater profit as you build a happier team who want to sacrifice to better serve customers.  Start today.

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