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  • Sam Decker

Be a Servant Leader

One of the best managers I’ve had once said, “I work for you”.

That’s it. That, I believe in its simple form, is the paradigm of an effective leader/manager. This is the uber-perspective from which many of the great principles are founded in “First Break All the Rules” and “Good to Great”.

Here’s what it means…

A servant leader has the humility to understand they work for their employees. Not the other way around. And if they understand that, then the manager and his employees have the humility to understand they are all working for customers. (Note: studies show employee loyalty leads to customer loyalty).

Therefore, the Servant Leader has the ability to identify, empathize, and listen for the needs of the customers AND employees. And if they know understand these needs, they can direct the right company objectives and strategy.

…continuuing this corporate ecology…

These objectives and strategies are what employees are yearning for. Employees want leadership — even the entrepreneurial ones! Because the Servant Leader understands this desire for direction, they’re much more likely communicate their perspective and direction frequently. They give employees feedback, and correct direction when necessary.

The leader, has to be a good listener to understand these things about what his employees need. More importantly, they need to take action on them (the servant mentality).

The Sevant Leader freely gives formal and informal recognition, because this is a top desire and need for the employee. These things motivate employees, who develop a passion for the their job and the customer. This passion fuels new ideas, initiatives, and programs. These ideas require tools and resources to bloom.

The leader, still working for the employees, provides them with these tools and resources in direct proportion to the agreed-upon and clearly communicated objectives and strategies (above). In the hands of passionate, motivated employees, who are now modeling the behavior of their Servant Leader, execute these ideas into value for the customer. They treat their peers with similar respect and support, and get more done through each other as a result. Imagine the organizational effectiveness that is accomplished with depressed egos!

As a result of all this, customers receive value. They are treated with respect. They buy more often. the company makes more money. Employees make more money. They achieve freedom to live life. Happiness follows. The cycle repeats.

All this simply by having the paradigm that leaders work for their employees and customers. At least, this is how it should work.

BTW, this is also the model for the model husband/father, according to another best selling book 🙂


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