January 21, 2018


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

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…]

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 www.learntolead.com

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

Project Management is not the enemy

Once there was a guy, called Henry. He was the proud owner of a successful small business.  He was passionate about his golf academy as this related to his keen interest in golf.  He appointed some coaches to supply golf training to clients.  This business gave him the excuse to spend as much time on the golf course as he wanted.  He had many ideas for new systems, products and packages that he wanted to implement at the golf academy to ensure business growth.  However, he didn’t use a systematic approach to implement each of these ideas. 

One day he decided that it’s time to put in that new system, but he had no idea what to budget for the roll-out of the system from beginning to end. He had no idea of the effort and resources required to deploy the system and therefore he didn’t have an end date for when this should all be done.  He had dived right in and got started, because that’s the way he was used to doing business and getting things done. 

The fact that the system implementation took 3 months longer than anticipated didn’t bother him at first, but the associated costs and lack of adequate resources gave him a huge shock.  His ideas for new products and additional golf lesson packages were dependant on the new system being installed.  For the first time he realised that he was trying to do all of this without a proper business strategy and vision, without a proper plan and without hiring the right people to assist him with the work.  He hasn’t heard of the term Project Management, but he realised that he needed a process and quickly!

Another guy, called Steven, also had a small business which he was very passionate about.  He owned a Marketing and Design Company that specialised in helping small and medium-sized, entrepreneurial businesses get the most of their marketing budget. 

He believed in having a vision, a business strategy to guide business growth and in objectives to reach the strategic goals.  He made a point of doing quarterly planning which usually helped him to identify at least two new business projects.  To him Project Management was no enemy, but the way to get results fast.

Each project was planned properly, budgeted for, with adequate time and resources allocated to it. By applying basic Project Management principles and a simple process, he managed to complete the projects successfully within 6 months.  This resulted in a steady business growth pattern and before long Steven was honoured as national business man of the year.  Most of his success he attributed to the fact that he used project management and sound business principles, which he embraced as his key business tools to ensure growth and success!

The biggest mistake in business is not following a plan to reach specific goals. If you are like Henry at a loss of how to approach Project Management in your business, why not start at the beginning.  Follow a simple Project Management approach that will give you the framework to do business projects and get the results you wanted.

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