Business

Servant Leadership with Tim Bollinger, CEO of MVE Group

by Evan Tsai | Last Updated on 07.15.2020

Entrepreneurs are fascinating for so many reasons. One of the most interesting is the fact that they are motivated by different things. 

Yes, many of them are inspired by financial rewards. After all, huge risks are often compensated by huge rewards. 

Nonetheless, some entrepreneurs place meaning or purpose at the top of their lists. They focus on creating profitable companies. Yet they also focus on serving their employees and the community at large.

One of those entrepreneurs is Tim Bollinger. He is the CEO of MVE Group. MVE Group offers electrical, LED, solar, and security solutions for commercial, industrial, and residential customers. 

Recently, Tim sat down with Sam Beiler of the Small Business, Big Growth podcast. He shared everything from his origin story to how he exemplifies servant leadership in his day-to-day life.

A Multi-Decades Long Adventure

MVE Group stands for Meadow Valley Electric. It was founded in the 1970s. Formed by one of Tim’s previous partners, the company was primarily a small electrical company with six to twelve employees. In fact, Tim started working for MVE Group in the 1980s as an electrician. That said, two years later, Tim tapped into his startup roots and created a security company called Esco Inc. 

As a 21-year-old CEO, Tim took on every conceivable role at his company. He was everything from the warehouse guy to the chief salesperson. However, he eventually merged his company with MVE Group. He has been there ever since.

Over the years, the company has expanded into different verticals (most notably MVE Solar). As the company has grown, Tim has been essential. He played a key role in transitioning the company into one with more distinct leadership and clearer structures. Even still, Tim was looking for more. He wanted to better manage his growing number of employees. Yet he wanted to do so in a way that was inspiring and motivating.

The Power of Servant Leadership

Enter Servant Leadership. 

Servant Leadership is a leadership philosophy that emphasizes the service of others. 

It removes your ego from the equation. 

It gets at the core of why you are in business. 

For Tim, it is the duty toward his employees and ensuring that they can feed their families. The bottom line isn’t the most important business concern. Rather, it is about employees, customers, and operating in a mindset where everyone comes out on top.

Tim ensures that MVE Group’s core values are out in front. He is a bus driver rather than a person who closely monitors his employees. His employees have the freedom to make mistakes. This gives them the confidence to take risks to help the company grow. 

And if they fail? Tim follows Servant Leadership and supports his employees. Ultimately, Tim creates an environment that rewards genuine effort—even if it results in failure. 

This was true even after the Great Recession. In one situation, an MVE Group vendor canceled an important contract. When that happened, Tim returned from a sabbatical and helped the company survive difficult financial times. He credits his success to being decisive, empowering his employees, and providing a clear, consistent message. And on an internal level? His faith and connection to God helped him navigate the intense stress that came with leading a business.

Since that time, Tim keeps exemplifying Servant Leadership. This is especially true when training the next generation of leaders. Yes, Tim is always perfecting his craft. His story shows how putting your ego aside and empowering your employees can move mountains. 

Even during the most stressful moments, Servant Leadership is a fantastic way to create a great company culture. It treats employees like people. It cultivates innovation, risk-taking, and optimism.

A Terrific Example of Servant Leadership

Tim’s work with MVE Group speaks for itself. He has been a leading force in creating an outstanding company for his customers and employees. 

While the future is uncertain, it is clear that Tim’s knowledge of Servant Leadership puts him in a terrific position. No matter the obstacles or roadblocks, Tim has the tools and experience to lead his team forward. 

In the end, we can’t wait to see what happens next. 

Listen to Tim’s full podcast episode here.