We are absolutely delighted to have leadership-guru Ken Blanchard as a guest author this week. I’m halfway through his newest book, Servant Leadership In Action, and I can hardly put it down! It’s a collection of essays by dozens of leaders who themselves exhibit servant leadership to their core. If you aren’t sure what servant leadership really is (let me give you a hint: it doesn’t mean what you think it might!), read on, my friends…. Oh! And take a moment to register for Ken’s free Livecast featuring many of the book’s contributors on February 28th!
I’ve worked with thousands of leaders over the years and the most successful ones achieve results while acting with respect, care, and fairness for the well-being of everyone involved. Many companies put pressure on leaders to reach or surpass goals at any cost. But wise companies realize that leaders who can achieve results by creating a motivating work environment are the leaders who will be able to sustain future success.
What’s the secret behind this kind of leader?
I think truly effective leadership begins on the inside—with your heart. Leading from your heart is about character and intention, which form the backbone of servant leadership. As a leader, you must ask yourself why you lead. Is it to serve or to be served? Answering this question in a truthful way is so important. You can’t fake being a servant leader. I believe that if leaders don’t get the heart part right, they simply won’t ever become servant leaders.
The most persistent barrier to being a servant leader is a heart motivated by self-interest that looks at the world as a “give a little, take a lot” proposition. Leaders with hearts motivated by self-interest put their own agenda, safety, status, and gratification ahead of those who are affected by their thoughts and actions.
Leaders with a servant heart believe their role is to bring out the best in others. They thrive on developing people and helping them achieve their goals. They constantly try to find out what people need to perform well. Being a servant leader is not just another management technique. It is a way of life for those with servant hearts.
Servant Leadership and The Golden Rule
I was talking with one of my old friends recently. I asked him, “What is your comfort? What is a philosophy you live by?” And he said, “I have always tried throughout my life to do the right thing. I think of the Golden Rule as my faith. I try to do to other people as I would like to have done to me and I always try to take that into consideration.”
A large part of being a servant leader and being there for other people is realizing that every human being is important. Even if another person mistreats us, it doesn’t do us any good to lower ourselves to their methods. The concept of turning the other cheek is kind of hard sometimes, but it’s all about not getting hooked into somebody else’s poor behavior.
So this week, as we go out and greet each other—including colleagues and customers—just remember: Treat them as if it were you – how would you like to be treated? That’s a pretty great way to live life.
More about Ken Blanchard
Ken Blanchard is a best-selling business author with over 21 million books sold. His newest book, Servant Leadership in Action, is being released on March 6. Ken is also hosting a free Servant Leadership in Action Livecast on February 28 featuring more than 20 authors, CEOs, and thought leaders speaking on the topic. Learn more here!