Servant Leadership: Parlaying Your Golden Eggs

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea on developing your servant leadership style.

          Abraham Lincoln, visiting wounded soldiers during the Civil War,  leaned over the hospital bed of one injured soldier and asked:  ” Is there  anything I can do for you?

Abraham Lincoln, A Servant Leader

        The soldier, not recognizing the president of the United States at his bedside, asked Lincoln to write a letter for him to his mother. The soldier began dictating.

       And the President began writing.  “Mother…I am dying….”

       Abraham Lincoln knew his role as a Servant Leader: to foster supportive environment for his troops. Effective leaders like Lincoln know the value in long-term productive relationships that aren’t limited to job descriptions, reporting structures or organizational charts. See 1908 New York Times article on Lincoln’s Love for The Private Soldier.

     How can you apply that kind of Servant Leadership? Let me introduce you to Larry, a mid-level manager in a manufacturing plant. Larry is a Servant Leader unencumbered by job descriptions or organizational charts.

     It has been more than 10 years since Doug worked directly for Larry. Even though Doug is now working in another division within the same company, Larry telephones Doug once a year to wish him well on his birthday. “That phone call makes me feel really important,” said Doug, realizing that his former boss has no ulterior motive.

     But as an effective leader, Larry knows his reputation as a leader who cares about people precedes him wherever he goes. He knows that today, thanks to him, many geese in the company are laying golden eggs—- the golden eggs of increased productivity and profitability. Larry the leader doesn’t try to greedily get all of its golden eggs out at one time like in the famous Aesop fable.

         Showing you care is a key leadership skill as Perry Smith writes in his book Taking Charge: “The brilliant, efficient individuals who cannot warmly think, compliment and commend their people will always fall well short of their full potential as leaders.”

      No wonder that former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca said in his biography: “In the end all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, products and profits. People come first. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”

      President Abraham Lincoln knew that. Eggs-actly!

Today’s ImproveMINT
Serve your employees’ needs 
to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

You might also like these previous Leadership Mints on Relationship Building:
Leaders are Lovers
Feeding Off Each Other in a Friend-zy
Building Intimate Relationships

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Listening is Literally a Life and Death Issue

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

            Here’s an idea to help you focus more on your listening skills. Reading time: 1:46

           Listening is the most important skill of a leader, writes Perry Smith in his book Rules &  Tools For Leaders.

           Listening is so important that our sense of hearing is the first of our senses to fully function: just 23 weeks after conception, according to the Mayo Clinic. Then the human fetus is just 5.5 inches long and weighs 7 ounces!

          And listening is so important that our sense of hearing is the last to die. That’s why Hospice advises family members never to assume that the dying person cannot hear. In fact Hospice says family members should direct their conversation to their dying family member even though he or she might not be able to verbally respond. They still hear you.

       It’s revelatory that as you age your ears grow larger. Maybe that’s more than a subtle sign that we should listen even more fully as we age.

          Click here to see previous post on Confessions of a Listener.  Listening is so critical that Helen Keller who was deaf and blind always insisted that a sense of hearing was more important to keeping her in the “intellectual company of man.”

        Today’s ImproveMINT


Nurture your listening skills to keep your leadership thinking in mint condition.

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It’s free. Just click the SIGN ME UP box in the upper left column.