The world is in a desperate need of a different leadership role model. Everyone has seen the effects of self-serving leaders in every aspect of our society. What we need today are leaders who are servant leaders.
When people hear the phrase servant leadership, they are often confused. They immediately conjure up thoughts of the inmates running the prison, or trying to please everyone. Others think servant leadership is only for church leaders. The problem is that they don’t understand leadership. They think you can’t lead and serve at the same time. From my experience, not only is it possible, it’s the only way over the long run to get great performance and human satisfaction. To prove my point, I’m always looking for good servant leader examples. Continue reading
In my last couple of blogs I’ve been focusing on my new book, Great Leaders Grow, which I wrote with Mark Miller. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a leader, this book can make a difference in your life—because everyone is a potential leader. Any time you seek to influence the thinking, behavior, or development of people, either personally or professionally, you are taking on the role of a leader. All of us can be leaders, whether it’s at work or in our homes or communities. And continuous personal growth is part of what makes a great leader. Continue reading
Here is a small sampling I really enjoyed from my book with Don Shula, Everyone’s A Coach.
The way managers treat people is powerfully influenced by what they expect of people. If a manager’s expectations are high, productivity is likely to be excellent. If expectations are low, productivity is likely to be poor. It is as though there were a natural law that caused a person’s performance to rise or fall to meet his or her manager’s expectations. My wife Margie has often said that one of the reasons she didn’t get into trouble when she was a young person was that she knew her parents expected the best of her and knew she would be a good role model for her younger sisters. She never wanted to let her parents down. Continue reading
Some of you might know that I’m good friends with Colleen Barrett, who stepped down as President of Southwest Airlines two years ago. It’s interesting – at Southwest Airlines, they say that all of their people are leaders, including those who don’t have management positions. It’s because they think everyone can have a positive impact on others. That’s consistent with the way we at Blanchard define leadership—it’s an influence process. Anytime you’re trying to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of someone else, you’re engaging in leadership. I think the reason people like the title of The One Minute Manager better than if it had been called The One Minute Leader was that a lot of people don’t think of themselves as leaders. When I do sessions, sometimes I’ll ask big groups of managers, “How many of you think of yourself as a leader?” and less than one-third of them raise their hands. Somehow they think the word leader is reserved for high-level positions like Presidents and CEOs. In reality, when I ask folks to list influential people in their lives who have impacted them the most, they very seldom mention managers or supervisors at work. They usually talk about parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, coaches, or teachers. So there are life-role leadership roles as well as organizational leadership roles. It’s an interesting thing.
So I want every one of you to remember that you are a leader. Each of you has the ability to influence other people, whether it’s a coworker, a kid at home, a spouse, or a friend. Because anytime you attempt to influence the thinking, beliefs, or development of someone else, you are engaging in leadership. So we’re all leaders. It’s just a challenge to get people to think that way. So be good to yourself. Be a good leader this week. Impact people in a positive way for the greater good!
In the book Everyone’s a Coach that I wrote with Don Shula, we came up with an acronym that may really help you think about how you’re doing as parents and managers and volunteers in the community. You can use this in just about any area of your life.
- C stands for Conviction-Driven: Do people understand what your values are and where you’re going? Because leadership is about going somewhere. Lead with conviction.
- O stands for Overlearning: There’s no such thing as teaching a good thing too much. You want to prepare your people so much that they really know their responsibilities and they can make something good happen. It’s important to keep telling your people and your kids and anyone else you may have influence over: If you’re going to do something, do your best.
- A stands for Audible-Ready: Don’t get stuck with a plan if for some reason it’s not working. Let people bring their brains to work; let your kids use their brains, too. Be open to the thoughts of others. Be ready to change your mind if a new and better idea comes along.
- C stands for Consistency: This isn’t about behaving in the same way all the time; it’s about behaving the same way in similar circumstances. Be consistent. Praise progress and cheer people on when they’re doing well. If there’s a problem, you can redirect them and get them back to their goals. If it’s somebody who’s dragging their feet who knows better, give them a little one-minute reprimand that will get their attention. But always end it with a reaffirmation that you know they’re better than that.
- H stands for Honesty-Based: This one is all about walking your values. Act with integrity at all times.
This is a wonderful little checklist for all of us in terms of: Are we leading with conviction? Are we really trying to always do our best? Are we adaptable and innovative and ready to change? Are we consistent in our behavior and are we walking our talk? Something to think about this week.