Servant leaders have a never-ending passion for personal development and serving others for the greater good of their environment. I witnessed that first hand last week.
I was blessed with the opportunity to speak to the NEXT Willmar Group in Willmar, MN about servant leadership. NEXT is a group of young leaders that was originally spawned from the Chamber of Commerce in Willmar. Their purpose is:
To attract and retain young talent in the community while developing the next generation of leaders.
Willmar is a community of about 20,000 residents. Five years after forming, the NEXT Group has in excess of 200 members, all leaders under the age of 40 who have a passion for their community and for personal development.
In discussions with members of this group I learned that they have 4 primary areas of focus:
- Personal development (They organize specific training and learning events throughout each year)
- Community development (They are involved in the establishment of the Vision 20 / 40 Project for the Willmar Lakes Area)
- Charitable work (They organize and promote volunteer opportunities to help various organizations in the community)
- Social development and FUN! (All events include a social activity to enable members to build relationships.)
This is a group that has gotten outwardly intentional about building servant leaders to insure a bright future for themselves and their community. Think about how they are building the following key elements of servant leadership:
- Foundation – They are crystal clear on their purpose and vision. All their activity and events move them towards the fulfillment of that Foundation.
- Energy – They collectively let each other know how important they are for the future of their city. They encourage each other and have fun in all their activities.
- Performance – This is one of the primary reasons young leaders join NEXT. Each of the members is committed to advancing their personal performance as a leader. Plus they want to advance the performance of their community.
- Relationships – All their activities are built with the intention of building relationships. They clearly recognize this will be what holds their community together into the future.
- Character – They recognize that their membership and activity in NEXT will help them build their personal character, which they know is critically important for a leader to be effective.
What are you doing to be intentional about enhancing your personal development and building a culture of servant leadership in your environment?
For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers. Proverbs 11:14
I observed another great lesson of recognizing the power of the example you set as a leader this weekend at my niece’s wedding.
Once we arrived at the wedding reception, my 2-year-old granddaughter, Sylvia was noticing the older children out on the dance floor and some of their activities. She quickly proceeded to go out and follow them around doing whatever they were doing, which was some of the wildest, fastest pace dancing you have ever seen, among other things.
In 1970 Stanford University professors conducted a study at the Bing Nursery School on the campus. The purpose of the study, which later became known as the marshmallow test, was to understand the control of deferred gratification.
Over 600 children participated in the study. Children were placed in a room without distractions except for a treat of their choice – a marshmallow, a cookie, or a pretzel – placed on a table. The children were told they could eat the treat right away; however if they waited 15 minutes without giving in to their immediate urge, they would be rewarded with two snacks.
Servant leaders know their primary focus should be on employees and building the desired culture of the organization. This focus will generally lead to fabulous financial results. I wholeheartedly believe this, as I have seen it play out numerous times in my career and with current clients. But this fact does not relieve us from building a budget or ignoring the financial part of the business.
As Triune Leadership Services has continued to evolve, I realized that spreading the message of servant leadership was being limited by my physical time that I have to be in front of clients. Our Purpose and Vision dictated new strategy and offerings to continue to accelerate the movement of servant leadership.
Are you chasing your dreams? Or are you allowing the world to convince you that you can’t make a difference and are settling for status quo.
It is my dream that leaders across the globe have access to, and open their hearts to the principles of servant leadership. When that happens we will cascade a culture of servant leadership that will have a positive impact on the world.
What does it mean to be committed to being a servant leader, who looks to Jesus as the model for their leadership?
We kicked off our 5/6-Year Leadership Roundtable Group last week. This group of 22 leaders has spent the last 5 years committing themselves to a journey of becoming the leader God created them to be.
Who do you have in your life that is challenging you to “Fan into flame your gifts from God”? It is clear from reading Paul’s letters to Timothy that Paul played that role for him. (2 Timothy 1:6-7)
I have recently released my first book, A Model of Servant Leadership, with a second due to be released later this year. I had a number of people that challenged me to write these books to share this message on the importance of servant leadership.
Last weekend we decided we wanted to wrap up our maple syrup season on Saturday so that we could spend Easter Sunday together relaxing with our family. To make that happen when the sap had been flying out of the trees for a few days prior, was a major challenge.
We pulled together a team of people that all had a desire and passion to help, and it was incredible what got done in a three day time period. Some people collected sap, others boiled the sap to syrup, others filtered and bottled the syrup, and others cleaned up. Everyone worked in their strength and significantly contributed to the achievement of the goal.
I am extremely excited to announce the release of my first book:
A Model of Servant Leadership
A couple of years ago I developed a 30 Days of Encouragement Challenge to help people step up their game on encouragement and positive recognition. As leaders took this daily challenge they found it became a habit to look for ways to lift people up. I continually get feedback on the positive impact this challenge is having on people’s lives.
I read a great article last week by Eric McNulty, “You’ve Got to Serve Someone”. The article references an extensive study that basically validated the positive impact that a culture of servant leadership has on individual and organization performance.
It is always nice to receive quantitative evidence to support what servant leaders have always believed. The secret to making a significant positive impact in this world is to be focused on the greater good of others above and beyond yourself.