Servant LeaderhsipA few weeks ago in a presentation a local business leader whom I very much respect suggested a book that I had not heard of before on leadership – The Servant by James Hunter.  So I wrote it down in my Evernote and looked it up over the weekend.  He said it was a quick read, and it was.  But, the message was invaluable, in more ways than one.

Suddenly the topic of leadership is on my mind.  And the blog posts that come to mind could fill a page, so I said to myself, “it’s time to start writing!”

Let’s start by asking “why is leadership so critical to a small business’ growth?”  Because a company’s growth is only held back by its leaders ability to both lead and manage.  As I previously share in my post The Search for Business Growth Continues, 2 set of factors impact business growth – management factors and leadership factors.  The leadership factors are critical to business growth, and the study shows the direct correlation to a business ability to grow and its owner’s ability to lead that growth.  Makes sense doesn’t it?

So ask yourself, if your business isn’t growing the way you hope what can you personally change to improve yourself in order to help your business start the growth again?  Looking in the mirror can change your business faster than anything else you can do!

I see this all the time.  In fact these are qualifying criteria in our sales process.  Does the owner believe he/she is part of the reason for the business’ lack of growth?  And secondarily, are they capable of the personal change required in order to get the business growing again?

The ThinkerA good friend and colleague of mine Dr. William Anton, is a psychologist that specializes in CEO effectiveness.  In his article, Know Thyself: It’s Good for Business he states that because of the concentration of influence and power at the top, self-knowledge in these key roles can have a big impact on business success.

Now, take this and apply it to a small business.  ALL the power and influence is concentrated with the owner.  So, the business is a reflection of the business owner.  If the owner changes his/her perspective the business too will change.

This is far harder than it sounds!  But, it’s where we begin our process.  If you can understand your passion (why you do what you do).  You can begin evaluating what you do more clearly.  It helps motivate change easier when things don’t make sense when you understand what you really want to become personally and professionally.

In the coming weeks I’ll explore more of the ideas and concepts that have influenced my approach to leadership.  The Servant has reaffirmed what I’ve always believed was good leadership.  It was true 30 years ago when I was a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and it drives my passion today to develop others so that they can have the success they seek in both life and business!