3 Steps to Influential Leadership: Step 2 – Service

Customer Service

While there are many ideas and theories about what makes up influential leadership, there are three ingredients that are ‘necessary, but not enough.’ 

They are necessary for influential leadership, but not sufficient.

Of course, there are many more ingredients to cook up influential leadership, but whatever recipe you are using to help improve your leadership skills, these three will definitely add some flavor!

See them all: | Part 1 : Allowance | Part 2: Service | Part 3: Reactions |

Ingredient #2:  Service

In my last blog, the first ingredient posited for influential leadership was the art of allowing.  Today, we look at another ingredient essential for influential leadership: Service.

“In a corporation, the higher up in management and leadership you go, the more servient you need to become.” ~ Bill Winney ~

Good Advice

This quote was given to me over good wine and Italian food from a dear, old friend.  He should know.  He’s one of those who started at the bottom and has worked his way up into a very successful career and life.  He is the manager of the QHSSE department of an international petroleum company and owns several small businesses himself.

The idea of servant leadership is not new to L2L readers:

  • One could even argue it’s one of the main reasons we read L2L
  • It reinforces a leadership model we believe in and practice

For example, in one of Lee Ellis’ recent L2L blogs, he wrote this:

“The lesson I learned was that serving and doing all the little things that others might avoid brings respect and ultimately influence.”

On Leadership and Service

But the idea of the leader being a servant seemed to fall out of the paradigm of what it meant to be a great and influential leader until only a few years ago.

In recent earlier times, leadership was only thought to be:

  • Tough
  • “Old-school”
  • Cutthroat
  • Competitive
  • Impersonal
  • Manipulating
  • Power-wielding
  • Command-and-Control

Unfortunately, the type of leader who is accountable only to the bottom-line prevailed for much of history. And, this is still alive and well in many settings to today.

A Travel Guide to Leadership

However, it has proven to be a failed archetype for the new millennium.  It is challenged in my new book, A Travel Guide to Leadership, with the paradigm of the New Millennial Leader – which includes the servant leadership model – the second necessary but not sufficient ingredient on my list today.

James Hunter captures the idea of servant leadership beautifully in his book, The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership. He Says this:

“Remember, the role of leadership is to serve, that is, to identify and meet legitimate needs.”

This is his definition of love and leadership.

Fulfilling Leadership Roles

Whether you lead in a relationship, at church, in the classroom, or in the business world, meeting legitimate needs empowers those you lead.

You empower them to fulfill their life mission, job, or role.  It is a close relative of allowing.

Service from a leader nurtures gratitude, as well.  When given consistently over time, meeting legitimate needs/service – an essential part of employee engagement – builds trust, reduces turnover, and promotes the well-being of not only the individual, but the organization and its goals and mission, too.

It has proven to be more profitable in the long run than other leadership models – no matter how you measure abundance.

All of these boost your influence… and create more opportunities for you to serve.

Leaders who use the creative energy force of love and service have made a giant step towards a more profound and sublime power on their journey.  Today, commit to being a more servient leader.

How do you meet or help meet the legitimate needs of those you lead?  How do you empower?  How do you nurture gratitude?  Will you share some of the things you do that serve those you lead?  What other ingredients do you think are “necessary but not sufficient?”

See them all: | Part 1 : Allowance | Part 2: Service | Part 3: Reactions |


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Alan Mikolaj is Author and Lecturer at A Travel Guide to Leadership Training

He helps clients become happier, more successful, and to become the better leaders
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Image Sources: dentalreferralmarketing.com


2 responses to “3 Steps to Influential Leadership: Step 2 – Service

  1. Pingback: 3 Steps to Influential Leadership: Step 1 – Allowance « Linked 2 Leadership·

  2. Pingback: 3 Steps to Influential Leadership: Step 3 – Reactions « Linked 2 Leadership·

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