We are looking at one of the greatest leadership quotes of all time…
“The first responsibility of a leader is to accurately define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” ~ Max DuPree
Before now you’ve heard that “A good leader is a good follower.” But how about this:
“The best leader is the best servant”
“Wait a sec, Dr. Rob, don’t leaders have to lead? Where does that servant part come in?”
Last week, we discussed the first responsibility of a leader—let’s move on to servant leadership.
Why is this part so VERY IMPORTANT?
1. Many leaders focus on getting off to a good start. Most want to finish well. After a good start and getting your feet on the ground… now what? Now it’s time for your best leadership.
2. These middle years are the daily grind. Frankly, it’s where the magic happens. It’s where you get to love your employees and do everything within your power to make them successful, or focus on yourself, blame others, and try to secure the best press clippings.
How do you do it right, even if you haven’t been doing great so far?
I learned many of these lessons the hard way. But after many mistakes, much coaching (from John Maxwell and others), and from working with some true champions, I got pretty good at it. I tried to break it down so that I could share it and mentor younger leaders. Here’s what I believe.
The job of the leader (CEO, President, Captain, team leader) is to figure out everything that needs to be done to have a successful organization. Once you have that nailed down, you divide the responsibilities among your direct reports (those people who report directly to you. 3-5 people is optimal. Those direct reports might be called (VPs, managers, area leaders, etc.). Then, each direct reports is 100% responsible for success in his or her area. If they are all successful, your organization moves forward… quickly. ***And please note, they do the work and they have the responsibility, so you give them all the credit!
Your job as the primary leader is to be a servant leader to the people on your team! You help them succeed and work well with their peers. Then the organization becomes successful, and you are a successful leader.
But can you really do that? Can you get your ego out of the way in order to love and serve others? If you do, people will love working with you and for you, and together you will win. Is that it?
No but it’s most of it! You are still responsible for guiding the current plan, giving/receiving accountability, ruthlessly protecting your core values, and seeing the better future for your organization.
But when you love and serve people, giving the authority and the responsibility they crave, leadership is a joy.
BOTTOM LINE: Are you ready to be a servant leader? If so, how can I help?
Hit me up: firstname.lastname@example.org
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