Serve Lead and Succeed? Sure, but how?


Serve FirstServant Leadership is a leadership philosophy first espoused by Robert Greenleaf in his 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” He states that servant leaders are servants first and leaders later.

Most of us have heard the Servant Leadership philosophy and at least have a vague idea of what it means. We know that while it sounds great, we too often show up and start managing using the same command, measure and control strategies that we have always used.

Serve Lead and Succeed

These words denote action and not philosophy. What do successful leaders do to serve the people they are hoping to lead?

Successful leaders serve by seeing potential in others when others don’t see it in themselves. Let’s face it; although many look different on the outside, most people are pretty under confident.  Give your people an excellent reputation to live up to and they will work hard to make you correct.

Successful leaders serve by understanding that their way is not the only way. People go about tasks in the way that works best for them. Servant leaders know that they don’t know everything and that different styles will have different methods. They encourage growth in a person’s strength zone.

Successful leaders serve by expecting accountability, but are careful to give clear instructions and expectations.   Stephen Covey’s habit of “Beginning with the end in mind” applies not only to plans, but also to instructions. If you want, wasted time and poor results just assign ambiguous tasks with no clear guidelines as to what you expect the results to look like.   Paint a vivid picture of what the results will look like and guide those who are off course long before they are lost.

Successful leaders serve by practice CBWA when practicing MBWA. (Managing By Walking Around and Caring By Walking Around.) Walking around is good. Walking around with the intention of being fully engaged with people is fantastic. If you want engaged, passionate people, go where they are and passionately engage them.

Successful leaders serve by seek out positive energy and value attitude over talent. Nothing is more cancerous to a team or organization than the prima donnas, bad attitudes, crude naysayers and secret back stabbers, no matter how talented or experienced they may be. It is shortsighted to keep these people just because they are good at the technical portions of their jobs.

I would love to hear more thoughts and ideas. How have served others and been served by a leaders in your life?

Contact me to find out more about how I can work with you and your team to develop a culture of excellent service.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Serve Lead and Succeed? Sure, but how?

  1. Pingback: You Don’t Need to Go Undercover to be a Great Boss | Serve Lead and Succeed!

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