Servant Leadership: It Builds Great Teams and Gets Great Results

servant leadership

Even though it’s been around as a concept for nearly 50 years — and in reality much longer, depending on how you define it — servant leadership has been growing in prominence.

Maybe it’s a reaction to the excesses of ego and power in some sectors of business, or an acknowledgement of interdependence. I suspect that the biggest factor, however, is a growing awareness that it works, and that it leaves everyone involved better off than zero-sum business philosophies where the winners end up on top and the losers don’t matter.

At its heart, servant leadership is based on the simplest of concepts: Humility, by caring for others and putting their well-being first. Read more…

Culture, Leadership

A Leadership Lesson to Remember: Don’t Forget About the Machinery


Editor’s Note: This is the seventh of 12 essays from the new book, The Rise of HR; Wisdom From 73 Thoughts Leaders. It’s compiled by Dave Ulrich, Bill Schiemann and Libby Sartain, and sponsored by the HR Certification Institute.

By Mark James

While there are many books written on leadership, most of them focus on charisma and motivating people.

In my view, there are three important areas leaders need to focus on and get right:

  1. Pick the right strategy. This is important, because otherwise you can motivate your organization to follow you in the wrong direction. Sometimes it isn’t clear if you picked the right strategy until years have passed. Read more…
Culture, Leadership

How a Workplace Culture of Trust Can Make Your Organization Thrive

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Can we reverse the trust decline?

Distrust is the new normal. There has been a dramatic decline over at least the past 15 years in almost every sector of our society —distrust of the police, government, financial institutions, ethnic groups, and even each other.

“Distrust” is the headline every night on the news.  Read more…

Leadership, Talent Management

Finding the Kind of Leadership That We Should All Aspire To


“You know, your butt looks so bad in the outfit you’re wearing, that I was surprised when I touched it, it felt good.”

Imagine hearing that on a date, or in the office, or on a date at your office party, or even your boss hitting on you at the office or at a party. Pretty horrible don’t you think, especially if you were the one experiencing it.

This was actually a real dating story referenced in one of my favorite podcasts called StartUp from Gimlet Media. It’s actually from their season two opener about a new dating/matchmaking startup called Dating Ring. Read more…

HR Insights, Leadership

Why Meddling Management Can Be Just as Bad as Micromanagement


It’s long been established that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

Why then, do so many leaders beg to disagree?

If not, how to explain the prevalent leadership practice of inserting oneself (loudly and with much fanfare, in some cases) squarely between Point A and Point B, when there is absolutely no need to do such a thing and when doing such a thing is inefficient, cumbersome, and awkward? Read more…


Did Tom Brady Lie? He Really Just Did What Great Leaders Do

Will the New England Patriots' Tom Brady be hoisting the trophy again on Sunday?

You know what none of the great leadership speakers, gurus, TEDx speakers, etc., will tell you about leadership?

Sometimes in leadership, even the best, greatest visionaries, have to do things they wouldn’t want anyone else to know about.

We got to see this in the past weeks with Tom Brady, the Super Bowl winning quarterback from the New England Patriots, with how he responded to the Deflategate scandal. Tom had a chance to be the leader we all believe leaders to be. Instead, he was the leader that most leaders are.

You don’t want to hear this. Read more…


Another Mark of a True Leader: The Ability to Inspire Others

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If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career, it’s that you can’t just declare yourself a leader and expect others to follow.

True leaders inspire others to find the best in themselves to work together to accomplish a goal. And true leaders can be anyone, at any level, not just those that carry a “manager” title.

Today, I’d like to share the perspectives of two such true leaders on this topic. (Emphasis in the quotations is mine.) Read more…


What It Takes For True Leadership to Happen – and Loyalty to Take Place

Fiercely Loyal

By Dov Baron

If we genuinely understand that our people are our greatest assets, then as forward-thinking leaders, we must become masterful at dealing with individuals as just that: Individuals.

What does this mean? It means that, despite what we’ve been taught about keeping ourselves separate and making sure we don’t allow people to break the chain of command, we must get down in the trenches and get to know our people. We need to understand what matters to them.

This is way beyond the “open door management” of the past. This is about seeing the humanity of people, having them see your humanity, and coming at your personal and business relationships from a place of genuine caring. Read more…

HR Insights, Leadership

Yet Another Management Challenge: Coping With the Narcissistic Boss

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Of all the offensive managerial types, the narcissist has got to be one of the worst.

For our purposes, the term “narcissist” does NOT refer to those with narcissistic personality disorder (although God knows you don’t want someone with this diagnosis in your workplace). Instead, we’ll be talking about your garden-variety but nonetheless dangerous self-serving and self-loving boss.

That’s enough bad news for one day. Read more…


He’s Baaack! The Keys to Great Leadership, According to Jack Welch

jack welch

“Neutron” Jack Welch is back in the news.

He’s been on a speaker circuit with his wife, Suzy, promoting their new book The Real-Life MBA: Your No-BS Guide to Winning the Game, Building a Team, and Growing Your Career.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve read a few articles centered on him, his leadership style, and his wisdom for leaders today.  Read more…