The servant mindset is easy to understand yet hard to carry out. While working with an executive this week, we focused exclusively on the Dale Carnegie human relations principle to “Become genuinely interested in other people.”
It is only natural to wonder how applying this principle will help us connect with others and come across as friendlier, more positive leaders. My challenge with the executive was to go deeper than the surface and have him put on servant lenses — be all about others first — and realize it is not about him. The issue was he was missing how he was offending his employees when he thought he was complimenting them. He might say to a design engineer, “You guys are the experts on designing widgets. I have no idea what you guys talk about, but thank goodness we’re on the same team.” The design team’s reaction was, “Wow. He shows so little interest in us he will not even take time to learn the design basics.”
The light went on for him and we spent the rest of our time talking about how to communicate and begin learning differently. It will be exciting to watch how his team will perceive him in the next eight to ten months.
This interaction also reminded me of some exciting, yet scary news. My book on servant leadership will be released August 18. The book took almost ten months to write, but thanks to the encouragement of my General Manager, Fred Vornbrock, and my Sales Manager, John Glaneman, I stayed the course and completed the project. Also, thanks to a great publisher and writing editor. I look forward to sharing the news with this audience first. Stay tuned!