December 18, 2017


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Leadership Style – Servant Leadership and Communication

By Bill Flint

This article is part of a series of Leadership Style articles about Servant Leadership.

Servant Leaders Communication and Conflict Resolution skillsOne of the most common challenges in today’s work-place, is to find the time to improve on communication and conflict resolution skills.

Leaders complain about people being lazy or not doing their jobs right, or people complain about the leaders being so busy that they don’t have time to spend with their people.  The workforce complains their leaders don’t set expectations, don’t ask for feedback and don’t really care about them. Then we wonder why companies have a gap between their vision and the results they are achieving. Everything in life and business revolves not just around communication but the “right kind of communication.”

Communication is the # 1 problem in almost all businesses

Why is communication considered as the main problem in many businesses?

  • It keeps the people and the organization from reaching their potential.
  • It’s not because people aren’t talking, but in most cases, it’s the “wrong kind” of communication or a “lack of the right kind.”
  • People are talking at each other, but not getting through.

Servant Leaders and communication

What Servant Leaders have learned about great communication is:

  • Setting Goals
  • Helping people understand what is expected and why?
  • What they will be measured by?
  • Performance reviews—how they are doing, what are they doing well and the areas they need to improve on.
  • Asking people for their ideas and suggestions.
  • Providing, inspiration, encouragement and motivation.
  • Discipline
  • Conflict Resolution
  • I’m your “coach not your boss.” I’m here for you.

Servant leaders know it’s their goal to “help both the people and the bottom line  grow.”

It’s not an either or. You need both for a business and its people to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

Communication and Conflict Resolution

Servant Leaders need to realize about communication and conflict resolution: [Read more…]

Leadership Styles: The Vision of a Servant Leader

By Bill Flint

Vision of a Servant LeaderAs part of a series of articles about Leadership Styles, today’s post is about the vision of a Servant Leader.

The best strategy to achieve organizational goals and create competitive advantage is by developing an environment of caring, mutual trust, and respect between the leaders and the people by focusing their efforts and strategy on developing the full potential of all associates and the business, therefore creating a winning partnership.

Servant Leaders Live Their Vision By:

  • Treating people as the most important asset in the company
  • Seeing people not as they are today but their potential
  • Realizing people are more important than tasks
  • Measuring their own success by the success of those they lead
  • Knowing leadership is about building relationships throughout the company
  • Impacting people’s lives by mentoring and coaching
  • Setting goals, objectives, actions, and measurements, with accountability for the results
  • Leading not just with their words but with their actions and modeling the behavior
  • Believing it is the responsibility of leaders to make a difference in people’s lives
  • Encouraging, inspiring, and motivating their people

When you see the definition and vision of a servant leader, it seems it should be something every leader and every company would want to embrace. It’s hard to argue with developing leaders who exhibit such skills, abilities, vision, and philosophy for leading others. But for many, it’s hard for them to understand the importance and make servant leadership a way of life.

Often when companies have tried to start new initiatives to improve relationships with their people, it has failed, because there is no real strategy or plan for developing and implementing a process. Real change takes time, patience and perseverance to make the needed people and culture improvements.

They look at it as a program and not as an on-going process. Programs are usually looked at as something short term, while process-building is for the long term. If servant leadership is going to be successful, leadership must be committed to the journey and the changes that everyone in the company will need to make in the way they lead, interact, and think about the people they lead.

Success Factors for Servant Leadership

Some of those changes will require a commitment that causes leaders to learn how to:

  • Balance the leadership of the people with the stewardship of the company.
  • Establish the expectations with their leadership for this new servant leadership style.
  • Obtain support by all senior leadership (from the top), or it will not work
  • Ensure leaders, supervisors, and middle -managers who won’t support it or cannot change leave the company.
  • Realize it is a journey and not a quick fix.
  • Communicate the process and the strategy to the total workforce, so they know what is happening and will hold you accountable for making it happen.
  • Expect scepticism from some associates.
  • Remove the barriers that keep people and the company from reaching their goals.
  • Empower your people.
  • Dramatically improve communication up and down the chain; communication will be the glue that makes it work.
  • Build real relationships with those they lead.
  • Make resolving conflict “job one,” because there will be plenty of conflicts as you implement this strategy.
  • Move your company from reactive to proactive in its personality.
  • Position people as problems solvers, not problems in the mind of all the leaders.
  • Develop an atmosphere of innovation and imagination.
  • Make motivating, encouraging, inspiring, and energizing your people the new normal.
  • Train and teach to build your associates into a team of champions.
  • See problems as opportunities.
  • Concentrate on developing the potential of your people.
  • Set goals, objectives, actions, and measurements, with accountability for the results. Build a sense of community, where everyone is pulling together to build your competitive advantage.
  • Train, teach, and learn over and over.
  • Remember there will sometimes be pain in the journey, but it will be worth it. [Read more…]

Leadership Styles – Is Servant Leadership the Answer?

By Bill Flint

Is Servant Leadership the answer?When we look at the state of our economic climate, politics, and the decline in trust people around the world have for their leaders, it becomes obvious that there needs to be a new direction and emphasis on the right kind of leadership.

Almost every night on TV, we see the despair people feel around the world because leadership isn’t working. In countries where leaders have used the power of the “big stick and control” leadership model to try and control their people, we see individuals willing to die in the streets to bring about change.

What is the answer to this leadership crisis?

Servant leadership is about working to eliminate conflict through good communication, listening to other people’s ideas, and being civil in the way we treat those with ideas we don’t agree with, so we can reach agreement for the good of the people we lead. This leadership style could be the answer.

Leaders are forgetting that leadership is always about thepeople. That doesn’t mean people will always get what they want, but even medicine that doesn’t taste well can make you feel better. We need leaders who really care about us, who will be honest, explain what needs to be done, and tell us the pain and the sacrifices we must go through and the actions needed to make things better. We need leaders who can develop a three-year strategy, instead of throwing abandon to the wind and coming up with a new program all the time to satisfy special interests and try to give us false hope.

How will Servant Leadership be an answer to the problems?

What kind of leadership is needed to bring about the changes we desperately need?

Who are Servant Leaders in Business?

Men and women who bring their purpose, passion, and character, and when combined with their God-given skills and abilities for leadership, bring out the best in people, helping a business develop and implement a sustainable process for success.

To Develop This Type Of Business Environment Requires Several Things [Read more…]

Leadership Styles – Servant Leadership

servant leadershipFollowing a recent article about Grateful Leadership, I want to look at another leadership style that will help you become a better leader.

Recently I came across an article by Darrell Andrews, who is a sport enthusiast, stating that he came across two types of leaders in sport. Some leaders enjoy the adoration that comes with success and clamor the spotlight when all is going well. They love giving interviews and communicating with the media during good times.

Unfortunately when things start to become challenging, these leaders don’t do so well. They begin to blame weakness in their organization for the failure. They start to pressure the people they are leading and make life miserable for everyone else, for in their mind, the problems in no way can be their fault. Although they love success, they are poor examples of leadership.

The second type of leader enjoys success too but they do something a little different. They give credit to the people within their organizations or businesses. This type of leader is a leader of people and they recognize that success in any organization starts with the people who work within it.

Servant Leadership

Lute Olsen, the former University of Arizona basketball coach put it this way: When the team wins, I give them the credit, when play is mediocre, we both need to improve, but when the team loses, it is my fault. What a great example of leadership!

We need more leaders like this today – leaders with an attitude of service. This leadership style is also called Servant Leadership.

Wikipedia defines it as follows:

“Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and a set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the top. By comparison, the servant leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible”. [Read more…]

Find Your Passion and Purpose in Life

Passion from vision

Good leaders have passion. Passion is derived from a leader’s vision and the passion will power and sustain you on your vision quest. True or not?

As human beings we all look for meaning in our life.  We conjure up dynamic visions for our life and hope that the vision will stir up our passion, adding meaning and purpose to our existence. In fact, vision has been described as “a picture of the future that produces passion in you”.

However, if this is how you hope to identify or stir up your passion, then your passion will eventually die out. You see, when passion is created from the outside-in, it can cause a momentary flash of emotion, but it won’t be enough to move you very far or for very long. As soon as things get tough along your journey, you’ll slow down, back up or walk away and look for something else. The embers of passion stirred by your vision won’t draw out the tenacity, mental toughness and resiliency you need to bring your vision to fruition.

Vision comes from passion

This is why a leader can’t cast a vision and count on it to create the passion necessary to be successful. Rather, your vision must be birthed from your passion! Did you get that? In order to be effective, vision must come from your passion rather than hoping your passion will come from a vision. This fact begs the obvious question: where does one discover this inner passion that so many people never find or tap into?

Find your inner passion

Where does inner passion come from? It comes from where all true passion comes from; it comes from anguish. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and Nehemiah of the Bible all had bold visions that were birthed from their passion. And their passion was rooted in their anguish.

Anguish is defined as an agonizing mental pain or torment brought about by conditions in or around you. What torments you? What keeps you awake at night? What moves you? What burns inside of you? What thoughts, purposes or dreams consume you? What do you agonize over? What brings you before God in tears? That’s where you’ll find your passion and that passion will birth your vision.

Leaders don’t miss the following fact: it’s not enough to be concerned. You must anguish! Concern creates interest, whereas anguish creates movement, resolve and makes you unstoppable. Stop ignoring your pain and start celebrating your torment and you’ll zero in on the passion that can become a channel to your vision, your purpose, and eventually, your legacy.

Inspiration for this article was found from Dave Anderson, President of Learn to Lead and Author of How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. Find his blog at

If you want to read more about my PASSION, I am sharing it in About Project Management Passion.

Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation – Leaders that are good Change Agents

What Is Acquired Needs Theory of Motivation? Acquired needs theory of motivation - Leaders that are good change agents

By Stephen Warrilow

Today Stephen provides us with an interesting perspective on how aquired needs theory of motivation shows which leaders make good change agents in a change management initiative.

Acquired Needs Theory describes three types of motivational needs: Achievement, Authority and Affiliation.

These were first identified and described and by David McClelland in “The Achieving Society” [1961]. David McClelland was a pioneer in the field of workplace motivational thinking, and was a proponent of competency-based assessments in favour of IQ and personality based tests.

In summary, the acquired needs theory states that needs are formulated over time by our experiences. We will tend to have one of these needs that affects us more powerfully than others and thus affects our behaviours, and they fall into three general categories of needs:

(1) Achievement

Achievers seek to excel and appreciate frequent recognition of how well they are doing. They will avoid low risk activities that have no chance of gain. They also will avoid high risks where there is a significant chance of failure.

(2) Affiliation

Affiliation seekers look for harmonious relationships with other people. They will thus tend to conform and shy away from standing out. The seek approval rather than recognition.

(3) Power

Power seekers want power either to control other people (for their own goals) or to achieve higher goals (for the greater good). They seek neither recognition nor approval from others -only agreement and compliance.

Acquired needs theory focuses on those with an achievement motivation, and David Mclelland stated as a result of his experiments and research that:

(1) Most people do not possess a strong achievement-based motivation

(2) Those people who do, display a consistent behaviour in setting goals.

Acquired needs theory indicates the following characteristics and attitudes of achievement-motivated people:

  • Achievement of objectives matters more than material or financial reward
  • Greater personal satisfaction is felt by achieving the goal than from receiving praise or recognition
  • Money is regarded as a measure of success, but not the end in itself
  • Neither status nor security are prime motivations
  • Accurate quantitative feedback is essential, because it enables measurement of success
  • Achievement-motivated people constantly looking for ways of doing things better
  • Achievement-motivated people will gravitate towards jobs and responsibilities that challenge them and satisfy their needs – for example sales and business leadership and management
  • Achievement-motivated people have the capacity to set high personal goals that they believe to be attainable

Applying Acquired Needs Theory to Change Management

Acquired needs theory indicates that people with a strong need for achievement, make the best leaders – provided they develop the people skills necessary to get the best results from their people.

So find the people who are achievement oriented and who have the necessary people skills and encourage them into a small team to help lead and manage your change initiative.

Not to miss any of these Change Management and how it relates to Project Management articles, please subscribe to Virtual Project Consulting’s RSS feed.

If you want to work with Stephen Warrilow, take advantage of his 7 FREE “How to Do It” downloads that will take you through all of the key stages of “How to manage change” – and show you how to manage change successfully.  Change Management Expert

About the author:

Stephen Warrilow, based in Bristol, England, works with companies across the UK providing specialist support to directors delivery significant change initiatives. Stephen has 25 years cross sector experience with 100+ companies in mid range corporate, larger SME and corporate environments.


Vision Requires Logic And Emotion

Emotion Plus Logic

By Dr. John C. Maxwell

Clearly defined goals are a key component to team success. If employees don’t understand their company’s goals and its game plan, these goals won’t be achieved. Vision determines the direction of the team.

When it comes to casting a compelling vision, I believe that there are two critical elements: emotional and logical transference. This is where many leaders go wrong. Some are great at explaining their vision logically, but they lack the emotion necessary to carry it forward. Others are very emotional when casting a vision, but they lack the logic to sustain it.

If you want to cast a vision that will send your team in the right direction for the long haul, you must do it with logic and emotion. It’s not an either/or situation. You must have both. To transfer a vision emotionally, five elements are needed:

1. Credibility. This is the most important ingredient for successful emotional transference. The person casting the vision absolutely must have integrity. His team must know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—that he walks the walk and talks the talk.

2. Passion. It’s very difficult to pass a vision on to someone else if you don’t believe in it yourself. Half-hearted vision-casting simply doesn’t work.

3. Relationships. The closer a leader is to the members of her team, the quicker they’ll buy in to her vision.

4. Timing. There’s a right time and a wrong time to cast a vision. A good vision presented at the wrong time will fail.

5. Felt need. It’s hard for people to catch a vision when they don’t feel the goal is necessary.

On the other hand, to transfer a vision logically, these seven components are necessary:

1. A realistic understanding of the situation today. If you’re not realistic about where you are today, people will know that you don’t have a clue about tomorrow.

2. An experienced team. It’s tough to keep a vision alive without seasoned players who comprehend why it’s important to the success of your organization.

3. A sound strategy. The step-by-step process of how you’re going to achieve your vision must be well-reasoned and watertight; otherwise it will fall apart.

4. Acceptance of responsibility by the leaders.  The success of a vision nearly always is based upon the buy-in of the leaders who are willing to sign their names to the bottom-line number.

5. The celebration and communication of each victory. Such recognition provides an infusion of enthusiasm and gives your people something concrete to hold on to as they continue to move toward the ultimate goal of fulfilling the vision.

6. Evaluation and communication for each defeat. Be as open about explaining the defeats as you are about celebrating the victories. After each setback, tell your team, “Here’s what we did wrong; here’s why we did not accomplish what we need to.”

7. Time. This is interesting, isn’t it? To emotionally transfer a vision, you need proper timing. To logically transfer it, you just need time.

What happens when emotion joins logic in the transference of a vision? People unite around the goal and start working to achieve it because they believe in what they’re doing and they understand why they’re doing it. That’s how teams win!

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than two million leaders worldwide.  To find out more, go to

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