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.
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.
I took a college class one semester from a guest instructor who had recently been the president of a large and influential organization. His presidency had lasted over twenty years and he had overseen numerous high-profile change initiatives. I enjoyed the class immensely and was really challenged in my leadership thinking. I even remember staying after class to share some theories I was working on and get his input.
So when I called up a friend who had been associated with the organization this man had led, I couldn’t have been more shocked at what he told me.
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?
In my last post, I shared several reasons why you don’t have to wait until later to be a leadership expert. You can begin right here, right now, no matter who you are. If you’ve bought that idea, then let me share several practical ways you use your leadership expertise to benefit others.