More Than Just a Catchy Phrase

In 2015, I invested a hefty amount of money and an even heftier amount of time into getting licensed to teach, speak, and coach using some of John Maxwell’s work. I was super excited about this since I had been studying everything I could get my hands on from John for over a dozen years leading up to that. The opportunity to pass just a few of the lessons along, since they had been so influential in my career progression to that point, was one of the most motivating things I had ever experienced!

In complete transparency though, there was one part of the licensing that just didn’t create a spark in me. I had been teaching teams how to build successful behavioral-based safety processes for years and I had spoken in front of groups all over the country at that point, but I was struggling with the coaching piece… As I looked around, coaches of all shapes and sizes were popping up all over the place; health coaches who weren’t in shape, life coaches who were...

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Intense Pressure to Deliver Results!

I remember a Friday evening phone call a few years back with a friend who was serving as CEO for a locally owned company that was experiencing almost unbelievable growth. He had been very tuned into the topline and bottomline revenue the entire time I knew him. I had also seen firsthand how effective he was at developing relationships with the customers and clients his organization served. In spite of all the growth and how great he was at connecting with folks outside the organization, about half of the managers who reported directly to him were ready to throw him overboard. As our discussion moved to some of the challenges he was dealing with inside the organization, he made a statement that I don’t think I’ll ever forget: “My job is to grow the business. I don’t have time for all that touchy-feely stuff!”

I closed last time by referencing how frequently business owners and executives have typically face intense pressure to deliver results. Whether...

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What’s Driving Your Team?

Last time, I shared an example that I hoped would help make the case for the clear difference between managing and leading an organization. One is just as important as the other and neither can be overlooked, but we cannot mistakenly consider those two very different actions to be one in the same! That said, I’m sure you’ve seen that exact thing happen just as frequently as I have…

Let me be clear here; I don’t believe the terms - leadership and management - are interchanged with the intention of creating confusion (most of the time). In the majority of the scenarios I’m picturing, supervisors and managers definitely hold responsibility for leading their teams. But all too often, they’ve never been provided with the tools necessary for combining any kind of effective leadership with the technical steps of managing the outcomes of the processes they’re overseeing. We’ll circle back to that shortly…

Before that though, I want to...

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Who’s Really Leading?

The entire time I was in manufacturing, nearly twenty years, the facility I worked in held a meeting each Tuesday afternoon that was often referred to as The Leadership Team Meeting. The plant manager led this meeting and each of the department managers participated, reviewing the metrics they were each responsible for tracking, discussing issues they were facing, and whether or not they were within budget to that point in the quarter. If one of those managers happened to be out of the plant, they would tap someone on their team to attend in their place…

Sound familiar? I expect it does since nearly every company I’ve interacted with in the years since holds similar meetings. But are those really leadership team meetings?

When Cindy and I had a conversation with Carly Fiorina a while back, she shared this with us regarding the difference between managing and leading, “Managers produce results within existing constraints and conditions. Leadership CHANGE or ...

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An Unexpected Revelation

I closed last time by promising to share what I learned a few years ago about the origin of soft skills so let’s dive right in!

Many of the civilian folks I’ve interacted with for the majority of my life have had the perception that people in the military, especially those in commanding roles, are brash and dictate orders for everyone around them to follow without any consideration for those pesky feelings. I suppose movies like Full Metal Jacket have helped build that perception in many of us who have not served in the military. Truth be told though, I can’t point to a single military veteran that I’ve worked with who’s barked orders to the people reporting to them. In fact, I’ve seen the exact opposite!

The first former military manager I worked with, Terry, was also a West Point graduate. If anyone should have had that command and control approach, it should have been him - right? I mean, West Point has a reputation for being extremely tough on...

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Meet Their Needs, Exceed Their Expectations!

Now that we have a solid definition of servant leadership to work from, and we’ve looked at some servant leadership practices that will help us meet the needs of our team members based on their own behavioral style, let’s close the loop with some final thoughts on how we can move this from being just something we do to something each of the leaders on our team will work to do…

As we worked through some of these thoughts recently, I shared a quote with you from The Servant by James Hunter saying that “a leader is someone who recognizes and meets the legitimate needs of their people, and removes all the barriers so they can serve the customer.” If we really want to build servant leadership into the entire culture of our organizations, we certainly need to start with looking at how we can recognize and meet those legitimate needs of the folks we interact with directly but we also need to work to ensure they understand how important it is for them to do...

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Specific Details and Time to Complete the Task

Having looked ways we can truly serve the needs of our team members with each of the first three behavioral styles - DRIVEN, INSPIRING, and SUPPORTIVE - to this point, let’s close the loop with the final 25% of the population; the ones who tend to be Reserved and Task-Oriented. Please understand that none of these styles should be viewed as better than the others based on the order I’ve covered them in. This group certainly shouldn’t be considered as being in last place! In fact, some of the smartest people we know are likely to have this primary style… These are the CRITICAL thinkers and they’re nearly always very CONSCIENTIOUS about the results they produce.

I was in a client’s office several years ago, getting ready to provide a part of their team with an introductory lesson on The Model of Human Behavior, when one of the management team members had a fairly intense conversation (read: loud argument) with one of the key team members. Since...

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Helping Them Achieve Results

I remember seeing a Marriott commercial a while back that closed by saying something along the lines of “we treat our guests like we’d want to be treated.” Ties right in with what nearly all of us know as The Golden Rule, huh? Around that same time, a friend of mine had shared something he experienced while on vacation with his family. For one reason or another, the hotel they were staying at for an entire week had made a mistake with their reservation, booking them in one room for the first half of the week and a different room for the second half of the week. Since it was peak season and the place had no other vacancies, there was no way to keep them in the same room all week long.

At check-in however, the staff member assured my friend that the hotel staff would handle the move from room to room for them in order to minimize the disruption his family experienced. The staff member even told him that’s what they would appreciate if the same thing happened to...

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Serving Specific Needs - Perception is Reality

With a solid foundation of Defining Servant Leadership in place, we can now focus our attention on making sure we’re serving the team we’re leading in a way that really matters to them! This WILL NOT be a one-size-fits-all approach…

Before we start down that path though, I’d like to share something with you from The Servant by James Hunter. I read this book at least a decade ago and absolutely loved it. I apparently loaned it to someone hoping they’d enjoy it as much as I did. They must have because I don’t believe I ever got it back. Oh well… With my new love for listening to books on Audible at 3X the normal speed, I’ve been able to get through this outstanding parable about servant leadership twice in just the last few days. I won’t share the story leading up to this quote - you’ll need to read or listen to it yourself for that - but in chapter two, Hunter suggested that “a leader is someone who recognizes and...

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Exemplifying Servant Leadership

When I trained teams on behavior-based safety across North America, a point we always covered was that you can’t see someone’s attitude or their emotions but we can get a solid read on their attitude and their emotions by observing their behavior. Today as Cindy and I provide Strategic Leadership Coaching for individuals from various organizations that we’ve done training for, we work with them to ensure they’re achieving the best possible results from the immediate action steps they commit to applying based on what they learned in the sessions with us. The first question I always ask them is what their team will be able to see them doing differently as they apply the steps they’ve outlined. In either case, the behaviors we choose provide the people around us with a clear picture of what we believe - our attitude and our emotions!

To this point, I’ve shared some background on the idea of servant leadership with hopes of providing a solid...

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