Service as a Lifestyle

November 9, 2021 / Posted in , ,

By Scott Jensen

One of my favorite holidays is Veterans Day! I have several personal reasons for this. Not the least of which is that it happens to be my father’s (an Army Vietnam Veteran) birthday and it is only one day separated from my beloved Marine Corps’ Birthday as well—oh rah and semper fi! 

But most of all, it allows the Nation to honor and remember a group of people that I deeply care for and am proud to be intimately tied to—our veteran community.

I could write a book describing a plethora of qualities that I so admire of our veterans. While every veteran is unique, there are also qualities we collectively represent throughout our ranks. 

For example, I love that veterans can immediately make you feel like you are with old friends and family members when you walk into the room. I love that you don’t need to know a veteran personally to know they will unconditionally have your back. 

Most importantly, I love that there is no larger convening of servant leaders than in our veteran community.

Considering the shared laser focus on “developing leaders committed to serving others,” it is no coincidence that the Severn Leadership Group was founded by, and has such a large concentration of veterans in our ranks! It is a natural correlation to that endearing quality of our Nation’s veterans—others above self. 

I had the pleasure of spending a few hours in a social setting with Julie Campbell, the president of Severn Leadership Group, a few weekends ago. It was at a Navy football tailgater hosted by the world’s best Naval Academy Class—1989. (Yes, I am biased!) 

As I watched Julie interact, I thought, “here is an example of a veteran and SLG leader that personifies the servant leadership qualities in every aspect of her life.” 

True servant leaders don’t just turn it on while at work or in a particular setting. It is always on! 

It’s paying attention to and listening intently to what others are saying. 

It is patiently and calmly playing football with your young children demanding your time while trying to have conversations with three different adults, making each —child and adult alike — feel like they are the only person there. 

It is making sure those around you have food before stepping into the BBQ line. 

They seem like small things and often go unnoticed —because servant leaders like Julie are unassuming and not looking for attention or credit.

There is a genuineness and authenticity that comes with a servant leader. This breed of leader demonstrates a willingness to calmly accept that others may have a better solution, a different perspective, or a legitimate question. 

They appreciate that they may not have all the information about another, having an openness to explore the other’s motives and experiences to understand better and work effectively together. Servant leaders inherently care for others, setting aside personal needs and gaining energy from supporting the needs of others. 

Veterans may have left the uniform behind, but they never forget the principles of service. They serve their local communities, in their places of employment, and at home. 

It is my honor, in recognition of Veteran’s Day, to say thank you to the veterans who “walk the walk” of putting others above self and serving as examples of servant leadership every day of the year.

 

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