I have recently started taking golf lessons knowing full well I have a long ways to go in achieving my personal value of “Commitment to Excellence” in this area. There are so many kinks and hitches in my swing I was ready for an hour long session of sensory overload in fixes to focus and work on.

To my surprise my golf coach picked one aspect of my swing to work on. There were over 20 different areas he initially saw that needed improvement, but he FOCUSED ON ONE. He did not want my mind confused with trying to improve everything at once.

His approach is to work on one aspect of my swing that will yield the greatest improvement before moving on to the next priority. The key to perfecting the new skill is repetition so that it becomes part of my muscle memory and a habitual part of my swing.

I found his approach interesting and extremely applicable to our development as servant leaders. Just like in golf, there is always an endless set of skills a servant leader can improve on.  For example a small sampling of servant leadership skill sets would include relationship building, developing others, listening, powerful questioning, empathy, encouragement, selflessness, humility, & building trust.  I could go on and on but I’m getting overwhelmed just writing all the skills down.

I would encourage people wanting to improve their skills and heart for servant leadership to take my golf coach’s approach. Pick one skill set that you most want to improve and will have the greatest impact on you moving in your desired direction.   Put all your focus into this area and don’t move on until it becomes second nature.

This improvement process of simplicity and focus will yield the following:

  • Less frustration and confusion
  • Blocks out distractions
  • Accelerates improvement on important aspects of performance
  • Allows for practice and mastery before taking on more
  • Provides sustainable results
  • A great model for others to follow

I’m working on powerful questioning right now. I am reading everything I can on the subject, and I am teaching others about this skill set. I want this to be a natural and strong aspect of my daily approach to leadership and coaching.

What aspect of servant leadership are you focused on improving right now? How are you holding yourself accountable for that improvement?


“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”   Mark 12:29-31