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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Servant's not a fad

That's what I'm talking about today...servant leadership.

We've heard and read tons and tons of stuff about servant leadership in the recent past. It's been a fad off and on in different organizations periodically. It was definitely a fad where I worked a few years ago. I heard bosses say, "ok, it's all about servant leadership now" and then a few weeks or months later it was on to another leadership buzz word and fad.

Give me a break. Could anybody tell me then what servant leadership truly was about? I don't know if most of them knew, but it sounded really good, didn't it?

From the web site

"The phrase “Servant Leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. In that essay, he said:
'The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.'
So, this concept has been around for a while...for thousands of years, actually. To me, it boils down to "It's not all about YOU". Now, we're all human and we all have desires. Most all of us want to be successful. So how do we measure success and what do we need to do to get there?

When you read or hear words by such greats in the management world as Zig Ziglar, Brad Worthley, Sheila Murray Bethel, and Roxanne Emmerlich, you will hear them all say that you can't truly be successful, regardless of how you measure success, until you help others be successful.

Read Robert Greenleaf's quote above once again and ask yourself a few questions:
"Why am I a boss?"

"Who do my people work for?"

"What is my duty towards them?"
Leaders who spend the majority of their time working to promote themselves and ensure everyone thinks they're wonderful often end up alone.

Concentrate on taking the crap and clutter off your people's shoulders so they can focus on the mission and their success will become your success, too.

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