To lead is not to be “the boss,” the “head honcho,” or “the brass.”
To lead is to serve.
Although serving may imply weakness to some, conjuring up a picture of the CEO waiting on the workforce hand and foot, servant leadership is actually a robust, revolutionary idea that can have significant impact on an organization’s performance.
Jim Hunter champions this hard/soft approach to leadership, which turns bosses and managers into coaches and mentors. By “hard,” Hunter means that servant leaders can be hard-nosed, even autocratic, when it comes to the basics of running the business: determining the mission (where the company is headed) and values (what the rules are that govern the journey) and setting standards and accountability. Servant leaders don’t commission a poll or take a vote when it comes to these critical fundamentals. After all, that’s what a leader’s job is, and people look to the leader to set the course and establish standards.
But once that direction is provided, servant leaders turn the organizational structure upside down. They focus on giving employees everything they need to win, be it resources, time, guidance, or inspiration. Servant leaders know that providing for people and engaging hearts and minds foster a workforce that understands the benefits of striving for the greater good. The emphasis is on building authority, not power; on exerting influence, not intimidation.
While many believe that servant leadership is a wonderful, inspiring idea, what’s been missing is the how-to, the specifics of implementation. Jim Hunter shows how to do the right thing for the people you lead. A servant leader or a self-serving leader: Which one are you? With Jim Hunter’s guidance, everyone has the potential to develop into a leader with character who leads with authority.
Readers who benefited from Hunter's bestselling 2001 parable The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership will enjoy this follow-up, which fleshes out some of the principles of servant leadership discussed in the earlier book. (For that reason, it also works as a stand-alone book for those who have not read The Servant or those who find straight advice literature more helpful than allegories.) Effective leadership, Hunter states, is about relationships, not coercive power; leadership development and character development are one and the same. The book's ideas are solid and the anecdotes helpful: Hunter trots out examples ranging from Southwest Airlines and General Electric to the U.S. military and professional football. The book draws on Christian themes but in a soft, understated way. One strong element is Hunter's attention to the history of different management styles in the 20th century, assessing what worked at the time and what needs to change for our era. Since business books tend to be myopically ahistorical, Hunter's glimpses of the past are refreshing and instructive. While some readers will be put off by the book's oral-style presentation-complete with overused exclamation points and rhetorical questions-others may find that the style contributes to the book's conversational and accessible tone.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Best Book On Leadership, And I’ve Read Many
This book absolutely spoke to my sense of leadership and easy for me to incorporate into my profession. It has also been extremely helpful in interviews and landing jobs when I share my approach to leadership (most of which comes directly from this book).
This book is what I am looking for!