This is a repost of my review of Hostmanship for the benefit of those who have found me through the Great Johnny Bunko Challenge. My 7th. lesson is Say, Thanks, Every Day. A fitting action of Hostmanship. A portion of this review will appear each day throughout the week.
This is the last post in a series on the book Hostmanship - The art of making people feel welcome, by Jan Gunnarsson and Olle Blohm. You can find the whole review as a downloadable ebook here .
Hostmanship is a leadership approach that mirrors what is called servant leadership, a business leadership concept developed by the late Robert Greenleaf. His work is carried on by an organization under his name. The Greenleaf center describes servant leadership this way.
Here's Robert Greenleaf's own definition.
Taken from the Servant As Leader published by Robert Greenleaf in 1970.
Servant leadership is what people should do. The problem is that we primarily think of it as a system of leadership to be applied like a manufacturing process. It is not a technique driven solution to organizational problems. It is something different, and that difference I believe is what Jan Gunnarsson has understood in this idea called Hostmanship.
The difference between the two concepts is that Servant Leadership begins with the desire for the leader to serve. Hostmanship begins with the leader as a person.
As the authors say, Hostmanship is an attitude. It is an attitude that is exhibited in action, in relationship. This is a throwback to the philosophy of ancient Greece that saw in the action of a person the character of the person. The better the character the better the action. And in this case the better the Hostmanship character the greater acts of service as a servant leader.
I have struggled for over twenty years with the way leadership is conceived in American organizations. I do find it primarily technique driven. Master these skills. Adopt this style. And you'll be an effective leader. I don't think it really happens that way.
Rather, leadership character develops under stress and testing. The real character of the person emerges when the walls of responsibility are closing in and there is no easy escape. When pressure builds and there is the inclination to flee or hide, and you stand your ground and find a way out. This is the pressure cooker that builds or reveals leadership character. And if you come through it as a servant leader, you will most likely have the makings of being an excellent host to your company's guests.
Literally everyday, I talk with people in the crucible of leadership stress and demand. They are not all clients in fact most are not. They are simply people of all types who desire to make a difference in their lives, and seeking for some way to make it work. I don't think servant leadership as a management concept addresses this situation for most leaders. I do think that Hostmanship begins to.
Hostmanship is an attitude about people and your relationship with people in a business context. It is an attitude of openness and caring expressed in service. But it begins by recognizing who you really are. Do you really know your own limitations? Do you really see your limitations as a gift of direction for your life and the course of your business? Where you are limited means either, don't go there or I need someone to fill the gap. Hostmanship leaves behind our natural arrogance that puts ourselves above our guest, and instead puts us in a more humble relationship to people so that mutual service and benefit may result.
I've known about Hostmanship for a long time, though I didn't know the name or of the Swedish authors that brought the world this fine little book. I've known it as much as a guest who wants my hosts to be at their best. I want to be the kind of guest that wants my host to serve me with joy and anticipation for the appreciation that I can return to them. Yes, you are hearing correctly that I think guests have as much to do with the quality of service as hosts do.
Hostmanship is born in caring and kindness towards others. It is not a weak or passive approach to leadership. Rather it is the most difficult type of leadership there is. It is the attitude and the character that precedes servant leadership. It is the leadership of personal responsibility. It is my taking responsibility for my actions in relation to my guest and the environment that my guest finds them in when they come to me for service. It is the leadership of the whole person realized through their function, in their organization, for their destination and nation.
I hope you will acquire a copy of Hostmanship and share copies with your friends and colleagues. It will make not only a business difference, but also a personal one that will bring great satisfaction and happiness.