Servant leadership: Who is ultimately responsible for your people’s success?

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By Ronald M. Allen

The emotional high of going to work and being among a group of productive associates, fellow employees with a common goal and supported by an understood incentive, moves people to act like no other force.

The key elements are that the employees feel part of something bigger than themselves. They have a sense of purpose. They are supported by the correct incentives to put forth their best efforts. They come each and every day to give so that the team will receive the benefit of their contribution and be recognized.

When a leader executes accordingly, this show of confidence in one’s fellow employees speaks to the security of the leader and the trust they show in their employees. But before you can learn how to improve your own leadership, you must understand what qualities make up a servant leader.

Here are some of the characteristics of successful servant leaders:

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Can leaders be both likable and respected?

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By Jayson DeMers

Every leader’s ideal relationship to his or her subordinates requires some measure of likability and respect. A likable leader will get along with subordinates on a personal level, and they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company, making the workday more enjoyable and boosting morale.

A respectable leader, in addition, will command attention, discipline, and obedience from subordinates, which will lead to a more organized workplace, and a firmer hierarchy in the organization.

The problem is, respectability and likability exist, in some ways, on a spectrum. Taking an action that makes you more likable might lose you some respect. And taking an action that commands respect could make you less likable. So, is it possible to be both liked and respected? And if not, which one is more important?

Respect as a necessity
First, as a leader, understand that respect is a necessity, and it can exist both as a form of compliance and in a freely given form. For example, most employees will follow your commands because they know they might be fired if they don’t; this is respect as a form of compliance.

Another group of employees might admire your leadership style, and personally wish to follow your directives so they can align themselves with that style; this is respect freely given.

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7 Ways Outstanding Leaders Do Things Differently

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By Lolly Daskal

It may feel as though we’re in a crisis of leadership, but if you stop to look around it’s not hard to find examples of CEOs, middle managers, elected officials, public servants, neighborhood watch organizers, team captains and coaches, teachers and countless others who are doing a good job as leaders. Most of us are either in that group or working toward it.

Much rarer are the exceptional leaders whose qualities truly shine, the ones who practice the kind of leadership we all aspire to.

In my years of leadership consulting, I’ve learned that most of what makes outstanding leaders outstanding lies not in the things they do but who they are when they take action.

Here are seven of the most important:

1. Outstanding leaders lead with consistency of character.
At the center of all great leadership are two interconnected qualities: consistency and character. Those who lead with character do the right thing 100 percent of the time, even if no one is watching and the benefits of cheating are great. They understand that their actions set the standard for their entire team, and that their influence reaches far beyond themselves.

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Bruce Springsteen, Artful Leadership, and What Rock Star Bosses Do

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Springsteen’s latest production, an intimate solo show, will combine readings from his recent autobiography, Born to Run, with a selection of songs. If it is anything like the book, the show will be a masterclass on management and leadership — only more lyrical than those featuring celebrity entrepreneurs, politicians, or generals.

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Qualities that make great leaders from A to Z

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What does it take to be a great leader?

We thought it might be interesting to share the attributes valued by senior leaders in our network.  The contributors are recognized leaders in a variety of enterprises: two global professional services firms; healthcare software; law; world leader in enabling connected commerce; private equity; and, multinational foods. We hope you find inspiration and an insight or two from their words.


Ability to Guide-A good leader should be able to guide his/her team to be able to perform well in all scenarios. Leadership does not mean dominating people. It means encouraging them such that they work to the best of their abilities and produce positive results.

Building a Great Team-Team building is not the easiest things to accomplish. Great managers are really measured in their ability to build great teams. For a team to perform efficiently, their leader should be able to motivate his/her team.

Communications-Great leaders are great communicators. He/she must be able to effectively and regularly communicate to deliver the expectations of company’s leaders have set as the groups goals. Great leaders communicate frequently, provide context and ensure employees can tie decisions back to corporate goals and objectives. Be a great communicator and learn how to make and deliver a good pitch

Decision-Making and Problem Solving are necessary skills. As a leader sets his/her they need to be able to recognize problems and issues and figure out the best approach to resolve the issues and move his team forward.

Direction-Leaders not only show the path, but are able to dive in and solve for challenges along the journey!

Enablement- Strong leaders trust their people and work hard to ensure their teams have what they need to succeed, and clear the hurdles out of their way.

From the Front-Lead from the front, live it, breathe it!

Goal Oriented-Leaders should also have a visionary sight for the benefit of the company. He/she should plan the future steps for the growth his/her team and of the company.

Gratitude–Thanksgiving does not happen just once a year.  Even the weakest rower in a race keeps the boat balanced, keeps the rhythm, and enables the strongest rowers to pull ahead.  Thank every member of your team for their contribution.  Make it personal.  Make it sincere. There is always another race, and you will need all those rowers.

Integrity-Have integrity & strong values-know who you are.

Innovation-If you are not thinking about what is next, you will not be unique for customers so you will not grow and it will be hard to take care of your people.

Knowledge-A great leaders is aware of changes that are occurring in their industry, aware of innovations in their firm and their competitors. This is necessary so that he can use the knowledge and make positive contributions to the goal.

Life-Keep Life in Perspective-Work / Life Balance……………….Have fun!!

Look-Great leaders look forward and look outward.

Market-You have to be always taking market share so you need to know your competitors and your customers…You have to drive what makes you unique so customers want to buy from you and not your competitors.

Measure-Leaders understand what the goal line is, communicate it to their teams, and how to work towards that goal.  Without clarity in what the objective is, individuals will be confused on the goal and have different views of success.

Mentor-Seek wise counsel – know who has an interest in YOU.

Numbers-Business is about making money so a strong leader has to understand the activities that are going to drive growth and keep the costs down…

Open Mind-Treat your mind like a parachute.

Outcomes – never mistake action for outcomes.  Nothing is more de-motivating than have a team working hard and not getting the results – guide them towards the right target so the action matches the expected outcome.

Overwhelm-Overwhelm Problems before they overwhelm you.

Road less traveled-Fix /Build / Grow Something. Take the road less traveled–take risk & build skills not titles.

Visibility-For a team to be successful, their leader needs to bring visibility to the team of how / why each member of the team is there. What skills, experience, or knowledge do they bring to the team?

We-Leadership is about advancing others, not you. Good leaders often always use the term “We” instead of “I”.

Zeal-Leaders have to be the most energetic, focused, determined people on the team because everyone else will draw on that.

Many thanks to all of the leaders who contributed to this blog for their time and wisdom. Hopefully we have added to your perspective on leadership. If you would like to share a thought or two for a follow-up post, please let me know.

Thank you,

Larry Janis, Managing Partner, ISSG