Book Review: World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle
First, don’t let the cheesy title put you off. The sub title is “How to become a Servant Leader” which is what it is all about. I think so highly of this book, I have given away at least twenty of them.
What is a Servant Leader?
If you hear Servant Leader what do you conjure up in your mind? A weak, wimpy boss who coddles employees? Someone who bends over backwards to meet employees wants and needs? If so, you will be totally wrong.
Servant Leaders can be hard nosed, almost dictatorial when it comes to establishing and focusing on vision, mission, values, integrity and business basics. On the other hand, Servant Leadership is the way to engage and influence employee’s hearts and minds to follow you. Servant leadership turns the organizational structure upside down. Servant Leaders give employees everything they need to win, including resources, time, guidance, mentoring and inspiration. This in turn fosters a workforce that understands the benefits of striving for the greater good. The emphasis is building influence through earned authority, not on power and intimidation. Servant Leadership is not just theory but a proven fact. Just look at South West Airlines, Starbucks, Medtronic and Service Master…. plus numerous smaller companies…. and….me.
So…are you a servant leader or a self-serving leader?
Twenty five years ago I asked myself that question. In my early years, I used the “command and control” or “my way or the highway” approach and it worked only to a point. Several major negative results ensued including, high turnover, political backbiting, information hoarding and a general lack of a cooperative team effort. Folks were not having fun. I initially read about Servant Leadership in two separate books by authors Ken Blanchard and Robert Greenleaf and became hooked. It made me realize everything in life was not about me, in both my business and personal life. A Servant Leader leaves his/her ego at the door. Motives in decision making are not self-serving; they are for the benefit of others. Servant Leaders put other’s needs (employees and customers) ahead of their own and help people to be the best they can be. Servant Leaders are as much concerned about who their employees are as much as what they do. All information is shared. Constructive feedback is embraced from all levels within the company. I always ran open books. I made sure that all executives, managers and team leaders were involved in annual 360 degree evaluations.
My embrace of Servant Leadership in the companies I have owned, provided me the necessary influence on my employees to follow my lead in achieving company goals while at the same time being the best they can be. Employees flourish in a positive culture where creativity, initiative and loyalty are rewarded and where trust is engendered. It is a win-win situation. My company benefitted from low turnover while employees felt appreciated and looked forward to coming to work.