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Current Issue In Print Leadership The Essentials

Service Still Speaks the Loudest


As a young adult, I logged a lot of community service hours volunteering. While service at this level is appreciated, it can be viewed as just a number of hours served. True service is heartfelt. 

I approach club management this way as well — as service that comes from the heart. As a club manager, when a member requests to look up their account, or perhaps they want a certain size towel, I am able to meet that need with no problem. The challenge comes when the request is a solution that is more difficult to define, but that is when I see leadership skills shine the most. Quite frankly, sometimes people really don’t want a solution, they just want to be heard.  

The leader who serves has the best of both worlds because serving and leadership run parallel. Much like a nutrition or fitness plan, service is tailored to meet individual needs.  

In the business world, we measure success by revenue, growth, profitability and now, get this — we measure it by a following. Research suggests the impact of leadership on these metrics is indirect. Real success is conversely measured by the change that occurs when someone leaves you, because people never leave you neutral. They are either depleted or energized when they leave your presence. This initial change is only the start of a healthy relationship. Real service is ongoing, even when the going gets tough. Therefore, service is on a continuum, not just a spectrum. Service builds your character and lets you know immediately what you are made of because it gives you the opportunity to start from the ground up. Author Michael LeBoeuf writes that, “Customer satisfaction is still a good business strategy.”  

As we come through one of the most difficult times in history for our generation, I want to challenge us as an industry to lead by making serving a priority. People everywhere are under a great deal of pressure — socially, financially, physically, mentally and emotionally. We need to reprioritize our goals as an industry and make service our No. 1 priority. After all we have been through, service still speaks the loudest.

April McCullough

April McCullough is the general manager of North Little Rock Athletic Club.

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