A whopping 87% of Amazon reviewers give authors Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert five stars for The Serving Leader: Five Powerful Actions to Transform Your Team, Business, and Community. Numerous CEOs have embraced the insights, embarked on transforming their leadership teams, and shared the book throughout their organizations. The book has been so successful over the past decade, publisher Berrett-Koehler has released an updated 10th anniversary edition. This post will highlight what makes this slim text so profound, results from testimonials, and how you can join an upcoming webinar with the authors.
A peek inside The Serving Leader
Best selling author Ken Blanchard, in his updated foreword to The Serving Leader, writes, “… Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert not only captured the essential leadership practices that are foundational to all extraordinary leaders but also provided a practical pathway for learning and growth that we can follow to improve our day-to-day leadership.”
Instead of the typical business book “how-to,” Jennings and Stahl-Wert introduce readers to Mike Wilson. The pages of The Serving Leader share Wilson’s exposure and deep dive into the practices of serving leadership in business, nonprofit, government, and community organizations. Wilson’s story and journal capture his learning and synthesis of the approach so that the distilled lessons can be conveyed to others. Readers are privy to Wilson’s own private thoughts, challenges, and transforming insights.
Through Wilson’s journey, Jennings and Stahl-Wert convey a model of leadership encompassing:
- Running to great purpose – providing an inspiring “reason why” to motivate best effort.
- Upending the pyramid – where leaders position themselves at the bottom of the pyramid to support and enable their team.
- Raising the bar – involves leaders’ selectivity in choosing who joins the team and organization and high expectations of performance at every level.
- Blazing the trail – captures the actions of leaders who model and cascade the methods of serving leadership and remove obstacles to stellar performance.
- Building on strength – positions team members in the area of their highest contribution, leveraging their strengths.
While presented as somewhat allegorical, Mike Wilson’s journey represents actual learning and events of the authors’ experiences over a specific period of time. Wilson’s story incorporates self-examination and a component spiritual growth. The authors suggest a deepening of self-insight and growth supports the development of the serving leader skill sets, although these don’t have to take the form of a spiritual experience.
Orienting for results
The approach delivers results. One obvious reason to see success is the commitment of leaders who read The Serving Leader to engage in the self work, and then expand the model to their organizations. This mirrors the beliefs of Marshall Goldsmith—executive coach to top CEOs and executives globally and author of several leadership focused best sellers—who writes the “most successful coaching clients are dedicated to be great role models for leadership development …” and, “
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