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Book Review – Servant Leader

As I started reading this book I couldn’t help but feel a sense of deja vu. Why were the thoughts and ideas being shared so familiar? Then I realized something, much like the author’s recollection of what his grandmother said. Many of these ideas were things that I had heard from my parents when I was growing up.

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I cannot count the number of times my father has encouraged me to be myself and true to myself and follow the right path regardless of the adversities that might come my way.

Or the number of times my mother has asked me to see others as I would want them to see me and accept others for who they are. After all there is a reason why everyone isn’t alike, it would be real boring if you were to turn around and all you’d see were reflections of yourself. Why is it then that I (we) needed a book to remind me (us) of things that could be just basic common sense?

Unfortunately years and years of school and college followed up with years of working in a dog-eat-dog environment has conditioned to not think about these basic things. We are trained to run as fast as we can for if we slow down someone else might take our place, we concentrate so much on running that we forget to stop and slow down once in a while to notice the important things. This book serves to remind us of the basics, to show that it is not always about win-lose, it helps us take what is common sense and helps us make it common practice.

There were many things I learned from this book, but there are a few concepts that stand out. I quote the author “Leadership begins on the inside with self-awareness and self esteem and the process of leadership involves regular and intense reflection and introspection”. The order of responsibility for a servant leader should be; 1. the employee involved, 2. the affected employees and finally 3. the organization. I believe the “regenerative circle of prosperity” is a great thought.

This is where the customer, the sales associate, the vendors/suppliers and the stockholders are all in a loop and mutually connected. The customer gets a quality product at a good price, the sales associate has the personal and financial gains of making a sale, the vendors get a good price for these supplies from the company and the stockholders get good returns. The returns can be reinvested to research better products for the customers and the loop continues.

Finally the concept of loyalty is also handled and treated very well in the book. The author’s interpretation of the word that makes so much sense in today’s environment. I quote the author again; “Loyalty, for an employee is simply doing the job that is agreed upon and doing it to the best of one’s ability with honestly and integrity. It is being sensitive to, and acting in, the best interest of the organization, colleagues and peers”. I will carry the insights from this book throughout my career.