Dan Rockwell is The Leadership Freak. A fanatic, not a basket case. Dan started in the non-profit world. Leadership has been a part of his life since youth. He went off to school for theological training,
Bob and Dan agree that the first opportunities to develop your leadership skills are sports or scouting programs. These teach you you project management and life skills. During these years the key influencers for him were people who believed in him and gave him the time when growing up.
Are leaders be born or made? Dan refers to John Maxwell saying that leaders can be made. The born part may not be genetic but rather from the development support that you receive in those wonder years. Teachers, neighbors, youth leaders, sports coaches are all important.
As for servant leadership, Dan quotes Pat Lencioni who says that he's tired of hearing about servant leadership, that there is no other kind. Servant leaders are concerned with what is best for the people on the team and in the organization. Command and control leadership is too much about stress, pressure, and manipulation and getting them what you want done in a leader centric style. Coming into a problem, a servant leader thinks about how he can help rather than needing to solve the problem.
Dan also talks about leadership in terms of the organizational environment.. They should think about the energy levels. Ask, “What can I do from a structural view or a rhythm to just create an environment of affirmation support and energy?” A simple starting point is stopping by at the end of the day to thank someone for their efforts. Bob and Dan then suggest that turning the pyramid upside starts an environment of the organization starting to support the line, serving them more. The servant is open and interested in the welfare of others and uses a coaching style, asking questions like “What's working for you?” or “How can I help?” Sometimes the employee thanks them for just asking.
Executives reticence to get a coach to help them move forward with skills such as this may in part be an ego thing. We often assume the coach is the one that know everything, but really he is the one that brings out the best in others.
Part of this leadership trail is taking time for self reflection. Harry Kramer book on values CEO of Baxter, big on authentic leadership…his future father in law invited him to MN to go a three day silent retreat. Journalling thoughts and being quiet.Mindfulness has a place somewhere…executives are not quite ready as a whole to meditate at the middle of the day, but this type of practice helps prepare them to leader better.
Dan's advice to a newly minted MBA is this: It's not about you. It's about others. You step away from the spotlight and put your team on the spotlight.