Meaningful Constructive Living Principle # 3: Motivation and Servant Leadership

” The great leader is seen as a servant first, and that simple fact is the key to a leader’s greatness.”  Robert Greenleaf

Motivation and how to get people to do their best has been an ongoing challenge for most people in families, sports and business. Everyone at some time or another has had a  “slump” or got “stuck” in the difficulties of life. The challenge is how to push through these breakdowns and re-energize yourself to do the best you can?

1. Create and live Personal and Organizational Mission based on principles and values. A leader connects with others and motivates them by living and acting on their shared vision.

2. Be ‘other-centered” and practice “servant leadership” not selfishness–As the old but sound Jesuit motto says “Be a man for others”.

3. Inspire others through action not just words. Nothing builds skills and confidence as surely and quickly as responsibility for delivering positive change and results. “Walking the talk” is powerful model and motivator for all employees.

4.  People are motivated and aspire to change when we stand for something…strive for excellence and struggle for something that matters and is larger than ourselves. Find something you are willing to go to the mat fighting for will build trust and demonstrate integrity to your followers.

5.   Acceptance of reality can provide the path and motivation for taking control of your actions.   Here is my pain and problem, yes, that’s the way it is, now what can I do about it?  Yes, I loss my job  now what can I do to change this situation around? What needs to be done to put my life on track? What can not be changed must be accepted. Refuse to use denial as a method for living and getting control of your life.  Long term denial turns into a focus on complaining and other negative feelings that simply keep you “stuck”.

6. Live a life of purpose and meaning. Motivation is not a one step process. It involves understanding others, flexibility, listening and observation, focus on individual needs and rewards and reinforcement. Remember in serving a purpose leaders increase credibility and demonstrate that they are not just doing thid for themselves. This behavior shows that you can be believed and trusted and have the team and organization interest at heart.

This concept of Servant Leader is not new. In 1970, after thirty years as an executive with ATT,  Robert Greenleaf wrote an essay entitled The Leader as a Servant.He states the following as how a servant leader begins–it begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. And then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead…” This is different from someone who needs to acquire power or authority over others. This type of selfless leadership is seldom practiced by today’s leaders. Want evidence just look at the gap between CEO’s and average hourly workers compensation.

Where are you on the servant leadership continuum?


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