Transform Your Organization
I’ve personally traveled all over the globe teaching servant leadership. My book, Leading With Others in Mind, is all about the nine qualities of a servant leader and how every organization can benefit from these practices.
Art Barter recently wrote a journal, The Servant Leadership Journal, which takes readers through an 18-week journey. Filled with space for reflection and exercises, the book is a thoughtful way to reinforce the servant leadership mindset. Art is the owner of Datron World Communications, Inc., and he took that business from $10 million to $200 million using these principles. Because of his passion for this type of leadership, Art has also founded the Servant Leadership Institute.
I recently asked him about his work in this area.
“There’s a wonder and magic in leaving your ego behind and serving others.” -Art Barter
Find Your Why
What would you say to yourself if you could go back and talk to the Art just starting his career?
I would tell the Art just starting his career to respect authority, find his “why” and not let others define him. And I would tell him to find a mentor who practiced servant leadership. With that kind of attitude, I would have looked for the significance in my career, not just success, at a much earlier age. I wish I had realized the importance of serving first and knowing the joy that comes from helping your employees thrive.
“To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.” -George MacDonald
Why did you decide to do a journal versus a traditional book?
The word “serve” is a verb, an action word. Presenting our behaviors of a servant leader as a journal gets readers involved in action — working to change their behavior, which in turn helps to change mindset. Working through the journal and creating their own visualization for living the behaviors will have a greater impact on their transformation. As Ken Blanchard says, “Leadership is an inside out job.” The journal involves readers with the “inside” work only they can do. The goal is to create leaders who live with an orientation toward serving others.
Practice, Practice, Practice
What’s the best way to change behavior? How do we know which behaviors to change first?
I think the best way to change behavior is to practice, practice, practice. Set small goals and be intentional. You will begin to assess situations differently, from a servant’s perspective. You will approach others with an attitude of, “How can I add value here?”
As for which behavior to change first, one approach we advocate is to work on the Serve First behavior before moving on to the other behaviors. But we also need to meet people where they are, so another approach is to do a self-assessment or have peers assess you on the nine behaviors and work on the ones for which you have the lowest scores.
Through this process, I cannot emphasize enough the need to listen to those closest to you. They will give you great feedback if you are willing to listen and then act.
“The best way to change behavior is to practice, practice, practice.” -Art Barter