Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. Berrett-Koehler Publishers. 162 pages. 2022
The format for this helpful book is simple. For each of the 52 simple truths – one for each week of the year – on the left page the authors identify a Simple Truth about servant leadership (written by Ken Blanchard) or building trust (written by Randy Conley). On the right page, the authors describe the puzzling lack of use of the concept, and briefly explain why it is important. The final element is a call to action for readers – “Making Common Sense Common Practice” – where the authors break down the concept into ideas that leaders can easily apply on the job.
The book is arranged with 26 Simple Truths on servant leadership written by Blanchard, followed by 26 Simple Truths on building trust written by Conley. There are a variety of ways that you can read the book. For example, you can read the Simple Truths in order, focusing on one to apply each week of the year. A “Discussion Guide” is included at the end of the book, with twenty-four discussion prompts that touch on topics relating to servant leadership and building trust. This is a good book to read and discuss with other leaders or emerging leaders.
Here are my favorite quotes from the book:
- The shift from self-serving leadership to leadership that serves others is motivated by a change of heart. If leaders don’t get their hearts right, they will never become servant leaders.
- Leadership is about going somewhere. If you and your people don’t know where you’re going, your leadership doesn’t matter.
- Servant leaders help their people achieve goals by coaching, encouraging, and praising them along the way.
- When you have a leadership problem, focus not on the power that comes with the position, but on the people you have an opportunity to serve.
- Giving and receiving feedback without judgment is one of the best strategies for servant leaders who strive to achieve both great relationships and great results.
- The goal of effective servant leaders is to serve their people and make sure they know their contributions are valued. These leaders realize that leadership is not about them – its about the people they serve.
- In the workplace, it’s your job as a leader to extend trust to your people first. It’s not their job to have blind faith in you simply by virtue of your power or position of authority.
- Fear is the enemy of trust. It’s virtually impossible for trust to survive if there is fear in a relationship.
- Authentic leaders display humility, admit what they don’t know, walk their talk, own up to their mistakes, and do what they say they will do.
- Demonstrating care and concern for others is the quickest and easiest way to build trust.
- As a servant leader, when you establish a sincere, caring environment through your words and actions, you can be assured your people will always remember you for the way you made them feel.
- Great leaders understand they build trust through the consistency of their actions. They focus on doing the right thing even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.