Servant Leadership

Powerful Insights and Wisdom from Top Middle-Market CEOs: Servant Leadership

In Leadership Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

On ROI’s Into the Corner Office podcast, we have interviewed over 150 leading middle-market CEOs from companies across industries, and the advice and wisdom they have shared with us is unparalleled. We are excited to share some of these insights with you in a new form!

Many of our podcast guests are CEOs of faith, and whether the company is a faith-based one or whether they simply use their faith as a guiding principle in their leadership, the cornerstone is often serving others. Todd Stewart, CEO of Gulf Winds International, told me succinctly, “You’ve just got to be willing to serve people.”

The Practice of Servant Leadership

In practice, this shows up in different ways. Mark McClain, Founder & CEO of SailPoint, says, “my job is to live as exemplary of life as I can and to show care and concern for people, we get the opportunity in SailPoint context to love on people, to share good things with them.”

As Dan Floen, Founder & CEO of PM2, points out, “It starts with your leadership team.” At PM2, it’s a culture of equipping the leadership team to lead and serve well. They begin each day with a devotion conference call with the leadership to put everyone in “the right frame of mind [to] send them forth through the day” because COMPANY teams are out and about serving clients, and

“God has called us to this industry to love men and women well,” says Alex Willis, Founder & CEO of Leadership Surge. “So when things get stressful, we’re able to look back and say, ‘Is this what God is calling us to? Is this the right thing to do for the customer? What would Jesus do with this?’” and in that way better serve the team and their customers.

Interviewing for Servant Leadership

Of course, the question here is how do you get at that idea of serving others in an interview? How do you figure out if a potential hire is going to be able to serve well, and be a good fit with your existing team?

“A question that would make a difference in an interview is when’s the last time you were able to serve someone and what was it and how did it go?” says Tom Garnder, CEO of Hay Creek Companies. “Getting to the point where if [the interviewee has] a servant-hearted attitude, that’s really the place to start.”

Todd has a similar idea and says that at Gulf Winds, “the big thing [they] look for is humility. That’s a big one because if you’re prideful, that leads to foolish decisions and foolish actions a lot of times. It’s hard because in an interview, [an interviewee is] trying to impress. But the reality is that you want to do that in a manner that’s humble. Are they giving other people in their lives credit for things? Are they saying the right things? Are they involved in a church? If they’re not a believer, do they have a passion that they follow? Are they committed to whatever that might be in their particular sphere?”

“What we’ve learned to do,” says Alex, “Is bring people in for what we consider a ride along just to kind of check it out, especially with trainers. Just come in and say, hey, you know what, we’re going to pay you for the day. Come in and hang out with us and we’ll see if you like what we do. [We’ll ask] ‘What do you think about what we do, is this something you can see yourself doing?’” That immersive approach has helped their remote team maintain its integrity and the trust they have worked so hard to establish and has been a powerful tool to find “self-starters who are working on their own who are passionate about people and passionate about the places that God has caused them to be.”

If you struggle with finding a culture match in your faith-based (or non-faith-based!) business, we can help. ROI’s Deep Dive process means we really get at the heart of who YOU are and find you top talent that matches your company’s culture and values.

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