Archives For servant leadership

I first heard the term “servant leadership” in high school. Since then, I’ve seen and heard it referenced over and over again in books, presentations and casual business conversations. One of my initial aversions to the term was that while it sounded nice, the connection to results was soft or overlooked entirely. In other words, it felt like a “nice guys finish last” strategy. After all, leaders are expected to deliver results or they won’t last long.

The more I’ve studied business and leadership effectiveness, the more I’ve learned that servant leadership is a supportive, inclusive and empowering style of leading others. In short, it puts the needs of others above the needs of self, but without sacrificing the underlying needs of the organization.

Many leaders want to grow in servant leadership. I know, because they tell me so. But sentiment isn’t enough. What we all need is a strategy. These four items are a good place to start.

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In the 16th century, political consultant (for lack of a better term) Niccolò Machiavelli’s works were published in the controversial manuscript The Prince – which is still in print today. In it, Machiavelli shared his theories on how a ruler could maintain control of his province – especially when gaining new subjects through military or political conquest. Essentially, it’s a dictator’s best practices manual.

Dictatorship is alive and well in the world of global politics, but it’s a not-so-subtle organizational management style as well. So if you want to lead like a dictator, here are some unfortunate suggestions for you, including some from Machiavelli. And if you prefer a more serving style of leadership, note the contrasts.

Angry Man

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Great Leaders SERVE

July 21, 2014

I had the chance to travel to Greece and Bulgaria recently and give a series of leadership presentations to several university groups with a small team of business professionals. The sights, food and people were reward enough, but getting to share our leadership presentations with the future leaders of two countries added a special sense of purpose to the trip. Even better, our message had been carefully constructed to include leadership principles that have proved timeless across all disciplines. Let me tell you more about it.

Mark Miller developed the SERVE model and curriculum and collaborated with Ken Blanchard to publish it in their book The Secret. Each member of our small team presented a portion of the model. I’ll summarize it for you here below.

Waiter Serving Dish

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Several years ago when I was in graduate school, I invested a summer at a major restaurant franchise with the hopes of landing a corporate role after I graduated. I worked with an incredible operator who went out of his way to help me build my network with the corporate staff. Through one of the connections he shared, an area director agreed to stop by the restaurant to chat with me one Friday.

I still haven’t forgotten that day, but not for the reasons you might expect.

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Today’s post was guest-written by my brother Lt. Cale Magnuson, a U.S. Marine   currently assigned to the Marines Aviation Program. You can connect with Cale on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you would like to be featured on this site, click here.

I distinctly remember the first time I ever heard Captain Tucker tell us that he loved us. Captain Tucker was the platoon commander charged with instilling in us the art and science of becoming Officers in the Marine Corps. As you might imagine, this raised some eyebrows. Captain Tucker is still to this day the hardest Marine I have ever met. As a Purple Heart recipient, he could have ordered us to follow him to hell and back, and none of us would have hesitated. So why would such a man openly tell a bunch of new Lieutenants that he loved us?

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