How Do Great Leaders Build Trust, Honesty and Respect?

How Do Great Leaders Build Trust, Honesty and Respect?


Think about this for a minute, which people do you trust the most?

Do you trust the people that you “Like” their Facebook post of what they ate for breakfast, or do you trust those that you sit down with to genuinely discuss things, openly?

In the increasingly demanding pace that business life sets, we can often neglect this when it comes to leading our team.

To successfully build an organisation and lead it to new heights, you need to do it one on one. That means you need to spend time one on one with each key member of your team on a regular basis, so you know what makes them tick and what’s going on with them to have effective communication going both ways.

When deadlines creep in and demands pile up, it’s easy to convince yourself that a quick joke passing in the hallway and an email or two from you stating your thoughts on various issues will be more than enough to communicate with your team. And of course, if they can’t deal with it – then it’s their problem.

It’s understandable that leadership comes with pressure, but as the Leader, it’s your responsibility to grow your team, to get them to willingly follow you (because they trust and respect you) so you can accomplish the goals set for your team.


To do this, you need to be continuously communicating ‘effectively’ with them and vice versa.  You need to know:

  • Exactly what motivates them to get up in the morning,
  • What’s going on for them in their world and
  • You need to show them that ‘you care’ about developing their skills, abilities and setting goals for their progress.


You can’t do this via email or a quick pleasant exchange in the office kitchen.  This is best communicated one on one with a disciplined bi-monthly or monthly rhythm.

It’s extremely important you identify what the individual (you are leading) really wants and needs.  All humans are driven by wants and needs – it’s their motivation for getting out of bed each day. If their needs and wants are being met (within reason and in balance with the organisation, business or team) then you’ll create an extremely positive work environment.  The One on One process is very effective in discovering what these are. (If you want to read my previous article on the power of One on Ones, click here.)


Do you know what your team members want and what drives them?


Over the last 20 years, I’ve done more than 17,000 formal One on Ones around the world, and I’ve learned that it is a key strategy to earning trust so that people will follow you. Making time to show you genuinely care about each of your key people, leads to genuine trust and respect.  If you have this, you will lead powerfully. As Theodore Roosevelt once famously said:

 “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”


Why would anyone choose to follow you otherwise?


Finding the balance of being honest with the individual (about issues you’re dealing with when it comes to their performance) and empowering and building up the individual through positivity and encouragement is a golden opportunity to grow each individual you lead and a key ingredient in dynamics and effective leadership. When you also effectively combine this with discovering what drives them, as well as identifying a life goal for each individual (and help them to achieve it), then you’re really making a positive impact on the people you lead to help them reach their fullest potential. And this my friend, in turn, builds trust, honesty and respect back to you as the leader.


Have you given any thought to who you need to be honest with and what you need to be honest about when it comes to their performance?

What do you have to be honest about? 

What goals have you identified that combine effectively for both the organisation and each individual you’re leading?


Building trust, honesty and respect isn’t something you do once and then forget about – it’s a behaviour you need to focus on and build upon regularly.  Just because you have trust, honesty and respect today, doesn’t mean you’ll have trust, honesty and respect tomorrow, and you need these in your team to achieve anything great.  Keep your finger on the pulse and assume nothing. Ever.


Developing skills to conduct effective one on ones, and building trust, honesty and respect take time and practice – I’m definitely better at it than when I first started. Each time I do a one on one, I often learn how to do the next with that individual even better. Each time I do something to build trust with a team member, I often make a note of how I could improve next time.  Like life, leadership is a continual journey where those who adopt the attitude to learn something new at every given opportunity will always rise above.

Assume Nothing! Things Might Not Go to Plan.

Assume Nothing! Things Might Not Go to Plan.

Assume Nothing! Things Might Not Go to Plan.

If there’s one thing that’s certain in life, other than death and taxes, is that even the best laid plans might not go how you want them to!  You have to assume nothing!


Case in point on the weekend at one of the biggest pay-for-view games in Foxtel history – the West Tigers versus the Cronulla Sharks.


It was a do or die game for both teams to progress to the NRL Finals Series 2019, something the Tigers hadn’t achieved for 8 years, so Sunday was a huge deal.  It wasn’t a Grand Final though it felt like the past 10 months of sheer hard work, growth and planning were culminating in this match.


However, 30 minutes before the game was due to start, in the warm up session, our full back, Corey Thompson, strained his Achilles Tendon and was ruled out to play.




The Head Coach, Michael Maguire, all the Assistant Coaches and Trainers, and the team had to deal with chaos in the dressing rooms. High level leadership was displayed having to rearrange the team line up, with key players having to play out of position – a great deal of selflessness and team player spirit was displayed. Even 300+ gamer, Robbie Farrah, who’d broken his leg 4 weeks earlier, stepped onto the field.


The team were valiant in defeat against an experienced Cronulla Sharks team. There is no doubt the younger Wests Tigers team members grew with this very challenging experience in front of a sold out 20,000 Leichhardt Oval Crowd.

Would the result have been different if Corey Thompson hadn’t strained his Achilles in the warm up? We had momentum with the system and the game plan leading up to this huge game, but we’ll never know.


There are key lessons to be learnt from not achieving the result we wanted to achieve.


How the players respond to the disappointment of last Sunday is a choice.  Your past is not your future if you choose.


All our biggest growth moments in life occur, if we let them, when things don’t go to plan.



Are you assuming anything right now?


Are you dealing with things in your life that aren’t going as you expected?


Are you going to learn from them, or let them to take you off your path?



I’ve been in business since 1988 and have seen many, many things happen, that nothing much surprises me anymore.  I’ll write a book one day soon on what I’ve experienced, though one key lesson I’ve learnt is – assume nothing, learn from every situation and keep moving forward towards your goal, no matter what obstacles lie in your way.


And also, allow yourself to be led by someone who’s more experienced than you are.


My life changed when I allowed myself to be led by a mentor and he helped me through some of the toughest times in business and in life.  I would not be where I am today without Jim.


Don’t think you know everything (because you don’t) and can tough it out on your own.  Iron sharpens iron.  Get a mentor independent to your business if you don’t have one.


Who could you ask to lead you?


Are you learning from your setbacks right now?


Are you focussed on the future?


Assume nothing!  Things rarely go to plan. Just ensure you learn from them and move forward.


I trust my blog post helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!




Here’s some other blogs you might like to read on this topic:

Allowing Yourself to be Led

How Mosquitos Nearly De-Railed a President

Want to Max Your Teams Performance? Then Here’s 2 Key Things You Need to Know.

Want to Max Your Teams Performance? Then Here’s 2 Key Things You Need to Know.

Some days as a leader, you start thinking that working with plants instead of people would be a fantastic idea because there’s just so much drama, disunity and disharmony within your team!  It feels like you’re back at high school some days!


Though if you’re not truly planning a career in Horticulture, pay attention as I’ve got some tips today to help you navigate the often murky waters of creating unity and harmony among the people you lead, so you can get on with business.


In my last article, we got talking about the positive impact that edifying your people, both publicly and privately, has on their level of devotion and loyalty to you as the leader and to the team culture as a whole. And, I touched on the necessity that to properly edify your people, you need to know your team and know them well, and in this instance, you need to know how they like to be edified.


For example, say for instance, a member of your team did a cracking job, taking it upon themselves to develop a new idea for a client, pull a proposal together, present it and then win new business and you, being incredibly impressed and grateful, planned a surprise thank you morning tea for them in front of the whole company.  However, what you didn’t realise was that they hate being made a big deal of in front of a group of people – they’d rather cut off their right arm than have to be in front of a group to receive praise! So, your well-intentioned plans fall flat, and actually have the opposite effect to the one you well-meaningly intended, all because you didn’t know how they like to be praised and edified.  So instead of increasing their belief in you as the leader, you’ll probably get the opposite effect, all because you didn’t take the time to intentionally find out how they like to be recognised and praised.


Don’t be fooled into thinking that all praise is good praise for everyone, just because it could be for you, as often that’s not the case at all.


How well do you know your key people?

Do you know what makes them tick? 

Do you know the main reason they come to work each day?

What’s their partners name?

Do you know what they value?

Do you know what makes them feel valued?

Do you know how they liked to be edified?



How well you truly know your key people has a tremendous impact on the effectiveness of your leadership. 


When you truly take the time to know each of your key people, it allows you to tailor your leadership style to suit each key individual, and this results in you as the leader showing you actually care about your employee beyond just a member of your team just to serve a purpose.  And when you do this, you build your people up on the inside and they in turn can’t help but increase their loyalty and devotion to you, building unity and harmony and thus helping you achieve the vision you have for your business.  Nice hey? So simple yet so powerful.


You can’t expect to relate to each person the same and get the same result. If you do, you’ll most likely find that you won’t get the most out those who you’re not relating well to.


I’ve been leading teams since 1988 and I’ve found two strategies extremely effective to help me get to know my key people better and they are firstly, to get to know their Personality Profile, and secondly, get to know their primary Love Languages.



Florence Littauer, in her book, Personality Plus, outlines 4 key Personality Profiles that give leaders key insights into how an individual operates.  I read that book for the first time in 1990 and it had a profound effect on my life and my wife’s life, because we were close to getting divorced.  What it did was take the scales off our eyes and we understood for the first time what our personality strengths and personality weaknesses were.  We understood what our partners’ personality was and gave us strategies for us to be able to unify and align within our own relationship and today we’re still married, some 31 years later.  If it wasn’t for that book, there would’ve been no way we could have maintained our own relationship, nor develop the unity and harmony within our life and within our businesses.


I took the principles of Personality Plus and deliberately bought them into my business life, into my client’s lives and into professional sport, with great success. Without understanding people, which starts with understanding yourself, you won’t be able to create unity and harmony.


Florence Littauer’s Personality Profiles are:


  1. Sanguine – the extrovert, the talker, the optimist
  2. Melancholy – the introvert, the thinker, the pessimist
  3. Phlegmatic – the introvert, the watcher, the pessimist
  4. Choleric – the extrovert, the doer, the optimist


You can find out which profile you are, and that of your people, by doing the simple profiling test that Florence outlines in her book.  She then goes into great detail of each Personality Profile and explains the strengths and weaknesses of each.  I can’t recommend her book highly enough as it truly was a game changer for not only my marriage but also my business and those of my clients.


Do you know your Personality Profile?

Do you know the Personality Profile of your key people?




To build unity and harmony, you also need to understand the 5 Love Languages as defined in Gary Chapman’s book of the same title. I teach all my clients that when you understand the Love Languages of the people you lead, you’re working on the heart and spirit of your organisation to build trust, and this in turn creates unity and harmony, which in my experience is essential for getting to where you want to go.


We all have different things in our heart that make us feel valued and special and when leaders know what makes each member on their team feel special and adjust their leadership to suit, it’s pretty powerful as you’re showing that you really do care for each of your key people, and this my friends, pays dividends to your team performance.


Gary Chapman has identified 5 overall Love Languages that apply and they are:


  1. Words of affirmation, e.g. “Your contribution to the project was invaluable”, “I love how you handled that difficult client”
  2. Physical touch, e.g. a high five, a hand shake, a hug, a pat on the back
  3. Quality time, e.g. a coffee, dinner at your home, a one on one meeting
  4. Acts of service, e.g. helping with a difficult task
  5. Receiving gifts, e.g. buying them tickets to an event they’d like, buying a lunch/coffee



In his book, Gary explains each of the 5 Love Languages in detail to give you the ability to better understand and care for the key people in your life, from your partner and kids, to the significant people you surround yourself with.


This isn’t about getting all mushy with Stan in Accounting, but what it is about is knowing how you can best show Stan, how much you appreciate all he does for your business – perhaps getting a coffee at his favourite cafe (quality time) or purchasing him a cap from his favourite sporting team (receiving gifts).  It all depends on his Love Language!


How do you like to be shown love, care and appreciation?

Do you know how your key people like to be shown?


So, here’s two things to focus upon for your key people – knowing their Personality Profiles and Love Languages – to ensure you know them in a meaningful way and in a way that builds them up, makes their heart a little bit bigger, as after all, as leaders, that should be our job, right?  It’s our responsibility to care for those we lead and, truly taking the time to intentionally get to know your people and serving them will pay dividends for not only achieving unity and harmony, but also for you to achieve the vision you have for your business.



How well do you truly know your people?



Thank you for taking the time to read my article.  I trust it helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!


Take care and keep climbing!





If you’d like a free copy of my e-book, The Dream is Everything, or, you’d like to receive my articles straight to your inbox each week, then click here!



I case you missed them, here are the links to the rest of the Servant Leadership Series:


Is Your Team Being Served? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 1


How’s Your Humility? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 2


Two Easy Ways to Build Team Culture, Loyalty and Devotion. The Servant Leadership Series, Part 3.




Two Easy Ways to Build Team Culture, Loyalty and Devotion. The Servant Leadership Series, Part 3.

Two Easy Ways to Build Team Culture, Loyalty and Devotion. The Servant Leadership Series, Part 3.

There are two highly effective and easy to do strategies that you can implement that will build your culture and increase your team’s loyalty and devotion to you.


What are they you ask?


They’re the simple, yet highly effective principles of Appreciation and Edification and their power of building team culture, loyalty and devotion and, ultimately team performance, should never ever be underestimated. And to ignore them, is at your own detriment.


While the pay is a main driving factor for your people to go to work, it’s Appreciation and Edification that will ensure the top performers come to work for you, stay loyal and devoted to you and give you a stellar performance.



There are some really creative leaders out there, who take the time to dream up ways to  show their appreciation to their people, with their efforts paying dividends for the teams’ culture, performance and loyalty and devotion to them as the leader.  And they’re often not elaborate or expensive, but they show that they care and appreciate each and every member of their team.


For instance, a local Primary School Principal surprised her team on Mother’s Day with a breakfast in the staffroom, – she’d also taken the time to write a personal note to each team member that were placed inside little cake boxes with a beautiful cupcake inside.  So simple, but so effective.  Her staff posted their appreciation all over Social Media that day.  This principal has turned the school around from when she took the reins and has attracted a top team of teachers to the school, and, one of the reasons is that she takes time to regularly show how much her people mean to her.


Another example of a simple yet highly effective display of appreciation that I recently read about is where a leader gave her team a present of appreciation every day of the week for a week, again each with a handwritten note saying how much they valued them (see the pic).  Not a big budget, just some creativity that yielded a massive boost in team spirit, loyalty and devotion.


Now these ideas may be way off base for your team, but I’m sure they give you the gist of what I’m getting at and you can come up with many alternatives to show your appreciation to your own team, which I’m sure you’ve done so already.



How do you show appreciation to your team members?

How often do you do it?

What’s your next idea of how to show the love to your people?




Another incredibly powerful strategy to bolster team culture, loyalty and performance is Edification – where you can promote anyone but yourself.  Everybody wants to feel special and be recognised and, when you promote others in the team you lead, it’s a very powerful behaviour.


The world constantly tells us that it’s “all about you”, but the problem with that is, that if we’re all just thinking about ourselves, then no one is often looking out for anyone else and that never leads to anything great.  When someone actually does take the time to see past themselves and care and promote another person, and show their respect and honour to them, it often surprises and delights the heck out of us – because, it’s usually unexpected.


For instance, acknowledging an awesome performance on a client pitch, to highlighting the effort of team members who stayed late to get a concrete pour done on site, to praising a team member for all the extra hours of effort they’re putting into improving their skills, are all ways you can edify others.


And when we’re edified, it empowers us and fuels an even greater performance and increases our loyalty and trust in the edifier.


When you have a team that practises this strategy constantly, team culture and performance cannot help but be bolstered.


How often do you edify and praise your people?

Who needs to be empowered through praise?



There are two ways you need to consider when looking to edify your team – and they are public edification (in front of others) and private edification (just you and your team member).  Each have their place and the more you get to know your team members, the more you’ll understand how they prefer to be edified.  


Do you know how your team like to be edified and praised?

What’s the next way you can edify someone this week?


Can I encourage you that if you don’t really know how your team members like to receive praise and edification, then find out?  It’ll be worth your while. You want to ensure your good intention is having the desired effect. (In the next blog in this Servant Leadership series, I’ll be talking about two highly effective ways you can get to know your people at a greater level so you’re best able to serve them as the leader. Stay tuned!)


You need to build people to build your business.


When you grow and empower your people through Appreciation and Edification, you prime and fuel your team for a winning performance.



How effectively are you utilising the power of praise and edification in your business or the team you lead?

What could you do more effectively?


Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I trust it helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!


Take care and keep climbing!



I talk further about this in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.


In case you missed it:

Is Your Team Being Served?  The Servant Leadership Series, Part 1.

How’s Your Humility? The Servant Leadership Series, Part 2. 



How’s Your Humility? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 2

How’s Your Humility? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 2

Humility: An often under rated leadership quality that is truly next level.


Here’s a true story about what Muhammad Ali did on a plane trip one day…….


The plane Muhammed Ali was a passenger on was going through some pretty rough turbulence so, the Captain turned the seatbelt sign on.  Mr Ali however, ignored the request.


One of the flight attendants came and asked him to buckle his seatbelt.


Mr Ali replied,

“Superman don’t need no seatbelt.”


To which she responded,

“Superman don’t need no plane.”


It was a damn cool and quick-thinking flight attendant that kept one of the greats in check and following safety protocol despite his famous ego!   And it’s ego, or rather lack of, that I want to highlight the importance of today, if you want to ensure you’re leading at your maximum potential and getting the best performance from your people.


If we think about it, the leaders we actually work hard for and like being under the leadership of, are the ones who in fact have Humility in spades, not ego.


In general, Humility is given a pretty bad wrap by the media.  Humble people are often portrayed as a “soft”, bumbling pushover, but in reality, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Take for instance some of the well-known leaders of our time – Mother Teresa, George Washington, Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffet, Ghandi, – they got some serious stuff done but did it humbly.  Not a push over among them and they’re just the tip of the iceberg.  Look up leaders who lead with Humility and you’ll see a long list.



The author C.S Lewis, put it perfectly when he described Humility as

“Not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”


Here’s another true story that I read recently, about Sam Rayburn, (who served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress for seventeen years and was third in the line to the Presidency, i.e. a very powerful man), that really challenged me and is an example of pure Humility:


One day, Sam learned that the teenage daughter of a reporter friend had died in a tragic accident. Early the very next morning, he called by his friend’s house.  When his friend answered the door, Sam asked if there was anything he could do.  His friend, shocked and grieving replied, “I don’t think there is anything you can do. We’re making all the arrangements.”


“Well, have you had your coffee this morning?” Sam asked.

“No. We haven’t had time” replied his friend.

“Well,” the Speaker of the House replied, “I can at least make the coffee.”


As the father watched his friend, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, make him coffee, he suddenly remembered something. “Mr. Speaker, I thought you were supposed to be having breakfast at the White House this morning.”


“Well I was, but I called the President and told him I had a friend who was in trouble, and I couldn’t come.”


Sam Rayburn cancelled breakfast with the President of the United States to make coffee for his grieving friend.


When you’re focussed on others more than on yourself, this is when your leadership truly goes to the next level. Countless studies show this statement rings true every time. And why wouldn’t it – when people take the time to care for you and put you ahead of themselves, it’s usually a very pleasant surprise and they go up in your estimation, and your sense of loyalty and admiration for them grows way over for those who don’t.  Leaders who have Humility and who don’t just rely on their charisma and success, like Sam Rayburn, are incredibly more effective and influential than those who aren’t.


A highly effective way of putting your team first before yourself is to give them opportunities to grow and to shine.


Are you putting your trust in them to solve problems by themselves without your input?


Do you send them to courses to further their skills?


Are you letting them do the more challenging or more visible or “glamorous jobs within the business, and not just keeping them for yourself, to grow their skills and give them some limelight and succession within the business? 


Are you really sharing the limelight for team accomplishments or do you take all the credit?


Are you fostering a culture of collaboration where everyone is encouraged to contribute and all ideas are respected – or do you just tell people what they’re going to do with no opportunity at all for discussion and feedback?



Another powerful way to display Humility is to ensure you acknowledge the contributions your people make to your business, as you can’t build your business on your own!   Public and private praise and acknowledgement of everyone’s contribution to the business, from cleaning the office, to buying the toilet paper and biscuits, to answering the phone, to managing a difficult team member, to doing an impressive job for a client or winning new business.  There are countless contributions your people make every day, and all of which help get to where you are today and to where you want to go.


When was the last time you truly thanked your people, one on one and as a team, for the great job they’re doing and tell them how much you appreciate it?


How often do you do it?


A great act of humility is to ensure you don’t make your team do anything you wouldn’t do.  If your people have to work on the weekend, or work late to get something completed, make sure you’re there too, no excuses, even if you just buy the dinner.  Or if there’s a difficult client, don’t palm them off to another person in the team for example.


Are you ensuring you’re doing the harder, less desirable jobs (even cleaning the toilet if needs be), and working alongside your team in the easy stuff as well as the harder tasks?


The last example of Humility I want to leave with you today is Transparency.   Effective and humble leaders are transparent with their key people, sharing their own failures, fears and weaknesses – it makes you so much more real and relatable as the leader.  (But, you must be wise with how much you share and, whom you share this with.)


It’s extremely powerful when you give your people insight into you, that you trust them enough to share your vulnerabilities as the leader, but it’s also a powerful example to your people when they see you push through your fears and you learn from your mistakes, just as you’d like them to do for themselves.


When my mentor Jim, a highly successful man in many, many regards, humbled himself and shared with me his own fears and failures, but also what he’d learnt from them and how he moved forward, not only did he go up in my estimation, it drew me closer to him and I trusted and followed him more.  I’m assuming this is what you’d like your own team to do too.


What can you be more transparent about with your key people?


Do you appreciate it when others share their weaknesses and fears with you?


Do you admit your mistakes and apologise when necessary?



Humility grows your influence as the leader – people respect and value Humility, and when you couple it with success, it’s a very powerful combination. The greater your success, the more powerful your Humility becomes leading your people and the more people want to follow you.   Ego and pride and lack of Humility will have the opposite effect and will see your people get tired of you and disengage with your leadership.  Not something you’re after I’m thinking.


What do you need to have more Humility about?


Is your team being drawn to you due to your Humility? 



Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope that you’re enjoying this series on Servanthood Leadership and that it’s stimulating and agitating your thinking, as it is mine.


I trust it helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!  Keep climbing!



I talk further about this in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.


In case you missed it, here’s part 1 of my Servanthood Series.



Is Your Team Being Served? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 1

Is Your Team Being Served? The Servanthood Leadership Series. Part 1

Often under rated leadership qualities that are truly next level.


One of my all-time favourite true leadership stories is this one……


A group of soldiers and their commanding officer were delivering a wagon full of supplies to their regiment.  It was a glorious day in the forest – sunlight was filtering through the canopy above – the sounds of the horses pulling the wagon were the only noises that disturbed the quiet of the forest on this Summer’s day and the soldiers were basking in it.


All of a sudden, there was a loud crack and a rush in front of them – a decent size tree had fallen across their path, blocking their way.  The soldiers got down from the wagon and proceeded to try and move the tree off the path, and they struggled with no success, all the while their Corporal was standing away at a distance yelling orders for them to work harder.


After a little while, a sole rider came by, and surveying the situation asked the Corporal, “Why don’t you help your men?”


To which the Corporal replied, “I’m their Corporal, it’s not my job.”


After hearing this, the rider dismounted his horse, promptly removed his jacket and proceeded to help the soldiers move the tree from the path.  The soldiers were extremely grateful for the riders assistance.


The rider, while mounting his horse said to the Corporal, “The next time you require assistance to move something heavy, call your Commander in Chief”, and then he continued on his way.


It was in that moment that it dawned on the Corporal and the soldiers exactly who the man was who’d helped them – it was the first President of the United States, and their Commander in Chief, George Washington. (Source)


A pretty powerful story.  No doubt George Washington made a huge impression on those men by that simple action, and one that I’m sure they not only dined out on for many years to come, but one that taught them something valuable about leadership (I hope!!).


Leadership is all about servanthood. Ever since the great leader, Robert K Greenleaf, penned the expression “Servant Leadership” back in 1970, there has been a growing ground swell of support for this style of leadership – putting your team before yourself – you lead because you serve and you serve because you lead.


This goes against a more traditional view where the people of a business or organisation are there for the sole purpose of serving the leader and serving the business.


When people lead by title or entitlement, this is the lowest level of Leadership.


The product is not the product, the product is your people.  You can’t do anything great on your own and it’s your people who help you create your product and achieve your success.  The central belief to Servant Leadership is that by looking after your people, showing you care and by growing them, they thrive as people and as team members, becoming really engaged with their role and the mission of the business. And as a result, your business performance lifts, and lifts way more, I believe, than under traditional leadership.


The moment you take your eyes off looking after your people, you will start to lose your way.

How are you serving your people?


In the next few articles, I want to focus on some highly effective servant strategies that’ll help you serve your people at a much greater level and this my friend, will help you grow your business.  Some you might do already, some you might not do ……yet……..


Ok, to kick things off, let me begin with a more obvious way you can serve your team, and that is deliberately taking time to show your team that you care for them – for not only their professional life, but also their life outside of your business.


My mentor Jim always said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”   


The level of engagement, loyalty and trust you receive back when you take an interest in each team member and you invest resources to grow their thinking and grow their professional skills, will skyrocket.  If you want to take your business performance to the next level, then this is a powerful leadership strategy that is readily at your disposal, that you should give serious consideration to.  Don’t put this one on the back burner until later.  Schedule some one on one time with your people now if you haven’t already done so and check in with them!  For example, ask how they’re going.  Ask them how life at home is. Ask them how they’re going in their role and is there anything you can do to help them? Work out a plan together to grow them in their role.


What could you do better to make the people you lead know that you genuinely care for them and their success?

How do you grow your people?  Do you have a plan to do this?

Do you care about their work/life balance?   

Do you care about what’s going on in their life?


Another highly effective way you can serve your people is to really listen to them and not talk.  And sometimes, as the leader, as the boss, it’s hard to do this!


Stephen Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”


So true.  And when someone actually really does listen to us, the effect on us is profound.  We’re taken aback a little as it’s unexpected and, as a result, our impression of that person increases and we start to trust them a little more than others.  As this process continues over time, trust grows and the relationship builds as a result. And I’ll wager a bet that you’ll do more for that person than those who don’t really listen to you.


Do you truly listen to your people?


Dean Jackson has been quoted saying, “Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, and others over self.”


Being an effective leader doesn’t mean you have to come up with all the answers all the time.  The people you surround yourself with will, more often than not, have great ideas!  And when you ask for their thoughts and truly listen to them, not only are you showing them respect, you build trust and loyalty with that team member and grow their engagement with the mission of your business, and that’s priceless!


Just a last note on this point, it’s way more powerful if you take your meeting off site sometimes, like at your home, or theirs – it makes a big impression when you take the time to do this and it has a tremendous impact on your key people.  It doesn’t get more personal than your home and it goes a long way to building relationships, trust and loyalty, and quite often, this will lead to people opening up about things they might not have otherwise, that will help you lead your business more effectively.


I recently read about a true story of a man who oversaw hospitals across the south eastern region of the US and he had a particular CEO under his leadership who was having a difficult time with one of his surgeons. The surgeon however, was the highest earner for the hospital, so negotiating with him was proving extremely tough.  The man visited the surgeon at his home one day and among other things, he quickly learned that his dog was the centre of his life and he had a major passion for all things canine.  And, after taking a great deal of time talking with the surgeon about his demands and his willingness to reach an agreement, the man asked the surgeon how often the CEO visited him at his medical practise.

“Never” the surgeon replied.


The man asked if the CEO had been to his home.



The man then went back and asked the CEO if he’d been to the Surgeons practise.

“Regularly” was the response.

What about his house?

“Yes, I’ve been to his house”.

“What’s his dogs name?”

Of course, the CEO couldn’t answer.


The surgeon had become a resource to manage rather than a valuable team member whom which to listen to and to serve.


How could you improve the way you listen to your people?

When was the last time you asked them for advice?

When was the last time you truly took an interest in their life outside of your business?


Nothing will help a Leader if they don’t take the time to listen.  I truly hope the CEO listened to the advice his area manager gave him that day.


Are you listening?

What aren’t you hearing?


Alright, that’s a wrap for today.  I hope like me, that you’re now spending some time on how you can better serve your people as the leader.  If you’re already doing this, that’s awesome! I’d love to know what you’ve found effective with your own team.


Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I trust it helps you build your leadership strength so you can live a better life!  Keep climbing!




I talk further about this in my book, “The Dream Is Everything”.
If you’d like to receive a FREE e-copy, (RRP $24.95), click here.