Saturday, April 07, 2012

‘Servant Leadership’ is not just for religious organizations -- this book is for business leaders.


‘Servant Leadership’ is not just for religious organizations

Bill B. Flint Jr. has written a book that needs to be read once, put on a shelf, and then read again over and over whenever a “servant leader” thinks he/she is no longer on his/her game.  And no, this isn’t a book written for clergy and missionaries.  It’s a book for anyone who wants to build the kind of company every person dreams of working for and every leader wants to help drive.  The Journey To Competitive Advantage Through Servant Leadership, WestBow Press, Bloomington Indiana, 2011, paperback, 162 pages is that book.

And Flint is not claiming to be a saint.  Far from it, readily admitting his own shortcomings and the errors he’s made over time.  He is now the founder, president and CEO of Flint Strategic Partners in Goshen, Indiana, but his material comes primarily from his over 25 years of experience working in key management and sometimes the top role for privately held, mid-sized, and two Fortune 500 companies.  As one who has followed a somewhat similar path (with large private and public companies, but no Fortune 500 entities) and now consulting, I picked up the book wondering whether there was anything Flint could teach an older pro with about 12 years of experience on him.  I was greatly surprised.

Bill Flint takes you into the mind and the heart of a servant leader.  He helps you understand what servant leaders understand.  He gets you to see what kind of development you’ll need to be one.  He clearly identifies the lessons he’s learned and they resonate well with anyone who has been in leadership for any length of time.  He differentiates between a ‘servant leader’ and a ‘potential servant leader’.  And that’s very useful for anyone on such a journey.  Flint includes a chapter that is worth the price you’ll pay for the whole book in which he identifies ten (10) DNA strands of a servant leader showing you how each is utilized.  He then tackles thoroughly the aspect of relationships and their significance in leadership.

More value comes in his chapter on how a servant leadership must deal with selfishness identifying six related areas one must guard oneself against if he/she is going to be a lasting and true servant leader.

The last part of Flint’s book deals with communications – and I don’t just mean in a peripheral way.  He gives you solid practical advice on how to deal with all types of people you’ll be leading and exactly how to develop and reproduce leadership champions.  Finally, as I line manager, he does something most managers still do not do – he makes a case for more, not less, of a voice for Human Resources in your company or organization.

Bill Flint’s career experience is not the only thing making him an expert on this topic.  His personal faith journey as a Christ-follower also gives him spiritual insights and the edge required to write this book for business leaders based on the principled life of the Master Servant Leader Himself.

-- Ken B. Godevenos, President, www.accordconsulting.com , Toronto, ON.

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