One of the key aspects of servant leadership is developing your people. The desire to always share your knowledge with others is a true attribute of a servant leader.

I witnessed a fantastic example of this last week. As mentioned in past blogs, last spring I started a hobby of producing maple syrup. My first year I simply tapped 20 trees and took the sap to a friend to have him process it into syrup. I caught the bug so now I want to pursue it to the point that I can be totally self-sufficient in the production of maple syrup.

I recently made a number of inquiries as to where I might find the necessary equipment to get started. I ended up on the phone with Vicky Adamski, from Adamski’s Sugar Bush, who was extremely helpful to me. Vicky was not expecting my call, as it is currently in the offseason for maple syrup inquiries, but she took all the time necessary to answer all my questions, and encouraged me to take a trip over to visit with her husband Gary and son Jim who run their maple syrup operation.

So off I went to Adamski’s Sugar Bush in Antigo, Wisconsin last weekend. I met both Gary and Jim who were the most helpful, sharing people that you can imagine. They shared their passion, their knowledge, and their true love for the maple syrup industry, and by the time I left, I was wishing that it was about the end of February so we could start tapping trees. I also left with a new evaporator and all the necessary equipment to tap 150 trees and turn the sap into pure maple syrup.

I know both Gary and Jim had other things to do that day. That had just purchased 20 additional acres of maple trees and they had a significant amount of work to get it ready for the 2013 season. However they literally dropped everything they were doing and gave me their full attention and knowledge for 2 hours. They gave me tutorials, tours, tips, and insight into industry associations to gain further knowledge.

It made me think – what if all leaders cared this much about their people, to the point that they were never too busy to give them the adequate time and knowledge that their people needed? I know we would have more engaged employees, who were more knowledgeable about the process, and would do anything to advance their organization towards the desired purpose.

After doing more research, it was not surprising for me to learn that Adamski’s Sugar Bush had won the Maple Syrup Producer of the Year Award for Wisconsin in 2007. This sort of a servant leader attitude, total willingness to share their knowledge and passion for their business, most certainly leads to high performance.

Are you giving your people the necessary one on one time to share your knowledge, answer their questions, and help them achieve their God-given potential? Thanks to the Adamski’s, I now have another great benchmark for what that looks like!

Mark Deterding