It’s clear that the world is in desperate need of a new leadership paradigm — a model that takes an inside-out approach, providing leaders with the tools to simultaneously understand themselves and to develop skills for increasing employee passion, customer devotion, and organizational vitality. Rooted in the commitment of serving first and leading second, the servant leadership model is a perfect example.

What does love have to do with servant leadership?

Here’s an excerpt from my notes on Ken and Jon’s talk.

What makes servant leaders tick?

  1. Listening: The servant leader has a deep commitment to listening intently to others: to identify the will of a group and help to clarify that will, to listen receptively to what is being said and not said, and to listen to one’s own inner voice.
  2. Empathy: The servant leader strives to understand and empathize with others, assuming the good intentions of coworkers and colleagues, even if they must refuse to accept certain behaviors or performance.
  3. Healing: One of the great strengths of servant leadership is its potential for healing one’s self and one’s relationship to others. Many people have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts. Although this is a part of being human, servant leaders recognize that they have an opportunity to help make whole those with whom they come in contact.
  4. Awareness: General awareness — and especially self-awareness — strengthens the servant leader. Awareness helps one in understanding issues involving ethics, power, and values. It lends itself to being able to view most situations from a more integrated, holistic position.

My “aha!” moment: my boss loves me!

Taken all together, this was starting to remind me an awful lot of my boss, Steve Piersanti. He hits all of these characteristics of servant leadership. In fact, he built Berrett-Koehler Publishers on many of the principles they reflect.

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