The Key Behaviors of Great Leaders

I call the highest level of leadership Servant Leadership. That means you choose to be respectful of people; coach your people; develop them; help them succeed. You lead with both your head and heart.

Servant Leadership is serving others while holding them accountable—a powerful combination. In other words, Servant Leaders seek to grow and develop people as an end goal of equal importance to results. When you do this, your organization will thrive.

Do you do the following 7 things that Servant Leaders do?

1 – Listen first, talk last

Give others a great gift—the chance to be heard. Many leaders are too focused on what they’re saying or what they are going to say next. Instead, tune into what the other person is saying. Tune everything else out. The most effective leaders are good listeners. They ask good questions, then through their listening, they lift others up.

2 – Ask for feedback

Although it’s counter-intuitive, asking for feedback from co-workers is really important.  Understanding yourself—your strengths and weaknesses—is essential to great Servant Leadership. In many of our consulting engagements, we have helped the senior leaders receive valuable feedback through a simple yet powerful process where they periodically ask people for feedback on weaknesses they want to improve as well as strengths they want to use even more.

3 – Keep your promises

When you and coworkers keep your promises—you get clear, coordinated actions, strong relationships and visible results.  The ability to keep our word, that is be accountable and hold others accountable, is a key driver of success. Not surprisingly, through people keeping their promises, relationships are strengthened also.

4 – Acknowledge others

Express authentic appreciation to others as often as you can. Both results and relationships will be greatly enhanced. Today, many people are disengaged from their jobs, with the primary reason being a feeling of not being appreciated. On the other hand, we have found that high performing organizations are filled with people who give themselves permission to routinely express authentic appreciation to others for their accomplishments and contributions.

5 – Use breakdowns to learn and grow

Use every problem or setback as an opportunity to learn, grow and forward the accomplishment of breakthrough results.  Instead, like many others, you may view breakdowns, setbacks and problems as a cause for upset, blame, or resignation, and forward progress is slowed or stopped. The best leaders, however, realize that life itself causes problems. Good leaders and good people are not immune. A problem or breakdown, when handled well, is a principle means of learning, and accomplishing the extraordinary.

6 – Remember it’s not about you

The truth is it’s really all about your people, not about you. Great leaders are Servant Leaders. They truly serve others and help others be the best they can be. Extensive research as well as our own experience shows conclusively that the key to any leader’s success is the ability to drive for achievement while demonstrating emotional intelligence with everyone around them. That combination delivers truly unprecedented, sustainable results.


If you would like to have a complimentary discussion with me on how Servant Leadership might  apply to you or your team, please call or email me: 630-673-4254 or