In the first part of our series, we looked at my servant leadership takeaways from the book Lead Like Jesus: Lessons from the Greatest Leadership Role Model of All Time by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges. Now I want to look at my takeaways from three books on servant leadership that I would commend to you.
Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results edited by Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell
If you are not familiar with the subject of servant leadership, this might be the best book for you to start with. In the “Foreword” to this collection of essays about servant leadership, John Maxwell writes that he and Ken Blanchard believe that the only way to create great relationships and results is through servant leadership. Maxwell writes that it is all about putting other people first.
In the “Introduction”, Blanchard writes that the world is in desperate need of a different leadership role model, as we have all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. He tells us that servant leadership was central to the philosophy of Jesus.
A major goal of the book is to prove that servant leadership has application in every kind of organization, including business, government, education, and places of worship. The book is aimed at anyone in a leadership position. The contributors’ hope is that one day all will be impacted by someone who is a servant leader, and self-serving leaders will be a thing of the past.
The book is organized into six parts:
Part One: Fundamentals of Servant Leadership
Part Two: Elements of Servant Leadership
Part Three: Lessons in Servant Leadership
Part Four: Exemplars of Servant Leadership
Part Five: Putting Servant Leadership to Work
Part Six: Servant Leadership Turnarounds
Short essays are written by a literal “Who’s Who” of leadership, many of them authors that have had a positive impact on my leadership such as Blanchard, Patrick Lencioni, Stephen M.R. Covey, Mark Miller, Simon Sinek, Marshall Goldsmith, Henry Cloud and Dave Ramsey. Blanchard provides a short introduction to each of the essays. I would recommend you go through the book and read Blanchard’s short introductions to decide if you want to read that particular essay at this time.
Here are a few of the many takeaways I had from the book:
What is Servant Leadership? by Ken Blanchard
There are two parts to servant leadership:
· A visionary/direction, or strategic, role – the leadership aspect of servant leader; and
· An implementation, or operational, role – the servant aspect of servant leadership.
To me, servant leadership is the only way to guarantee great relationships and results.
Servant Leadership at the Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey
I became increasingly convinced that the practices of servant leadership and trust are inextricably linked. Today, I find it difficult to talk about serving without also talking about trust – and vice versa.
The strong bias of the servant leader is to extend trust to others.
In the Service of Others: When Leaders Dare to Rehumanize Work by Brene Brown
Servant leadership and shame culture cannot coexist for a simple reason: the foundation of servant leadership is courage and shame breeds fear.
Compassion: The Heart of Servant Leadership by Craig Groeschel
True servant leadership means you are called to care – not to just feel sorry for someone or feel sympathy or empathy – but to do something. Why? Because to say you care, and then not act, is to not care at all. True servant leadership cares. And because it cares, it must act.
A Baptism of Leadership by Erwin Raphael McManus
We tend to want God’s power but not His character. Yet only when we embrace His character are we trustworthy with His power. Servant leadership understands that our calling is not to overpower but to empower.
Jesus: The Greatest Example of a Servant Leader by Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges
For followers of Jesus, servant leadership is not an option; servant leadership is a mandate.
Leading is Serving by Dave Ramsey
If there’s one key to servant leadership, it’s pretty simple: put other people first.
Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia
I first heard of Bob Chapman, CEO of Barry-Wehmiller Companies (BW), a St. Louis based manufacturing organization, in Simon Sinek’s 2013 book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. In the Foreword to this book Sinek states that nearly every CEO says that their people matter, but with Bob Chapman at BW, this is actually true. The book is about “what happens when ordinary people throw away long accepted management practices and start operating from their deepest sense of right with a sense of profound responsibility for the lives entrusted to them”. It is the story of BW’s organizational and leadership culture, based around what they call “Truly Human Leadership”, which is another way of describing servant leadership.
Trust is very important in their culture. They see leadership as stewardship. Leaders at BW are committed to helping team members find fulfilling and meaningful work. The authors talk about business as family and discuss the similarities between parenting and leadership. They are concerned not only how work impacts their team members but their team members’ families as well.
Part two of the book is about applying the BW Playbook in your organization. The authors discuss BW’s “Ten Commandments of Truly Human Leadership” and their BW Leadership Institute. Their Ten Commandments of Truly Human Leadership are:
1. Begin every day with a focus on the lives you touch.
2. Know that leadership is the stewardship of the lives entrusted to you.
3. Embrace leadership practices that send people home each day safe, healthy, and fulfilled.
4. Align all actions to an inspirational vision of a better future.
5. Trust is the foundation of all relationships; act accordingly.
6. Look for goodness in people and recognize and celebrate it daily.
7. Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.
8. Lead with a clear sense of grounded optimism.
9. Recognize and flex to the uniqueness of everyone.
10. Always measure success by the way you touch the lives of people.
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen
This short book is primarily the text for Nouwen’s address on Christian leadership in the twenty-first century on the occasion of the fifteenth anniversary of the Center for Human Development in Washington, D.C. His audience consisted of priests and ministers. I appreciate this passage on servant leadership from the book:
- The leadership about which Jesus speaks is of a radically different kind from the leadership offered by the world. It is a servant leadership, in which the leader is a vulnerable servant who needs the people as much as they need their leader.
- It is clear that a whole new type of leadership is asked for in the church of tomorrow, a leadership that is not modeled on the power games of the world, but on the servant-leader Jesus, who came to give his life for the salvation of many.
Next time we’ll look at the takeaways I’ve learned about servant leadership from a few more books. What books have influenced you about servant leadership?