Authentic Servant Leadership Comes from the Inside Out

In their essay, Finding Your Voice, James Kouzes and Barry Posner write that, in their thirty-five years studying leadership, “We keep rediscovering that credibility is the foundation of leadership… We’ve come to refer to it as the First Law of Leadership: if you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Throughout their journey, great leaders fill their leadership portfolio with a continuous flow of experiences that grow and develop the skills, talents and knowledge as they master these fundamental tools of the leadership trade. Yet, simply having the tools and applying them doesn’t ensure successful leadership. As the authors write: “If you don’t believe in the messenger, you won’t believe the message.”

Kouzes and Posner tell great leaders:

“To lead others, you have to learn about yourself. After all, if you are to speak out, you have to know what to speak about and, if you are to stand up for your beliefs, you have to know the beliefs you stand for. To do what you say, you have to know what you want to say. Authentic servant leadership cannot come from the outside in. It comes from the inside out…. Don’t confuse leadership with talent. And don’t confuse leadership with tools and techniques. They are not what earn you the respect and commitment of your people. What earns you their respect in the end is whether you are you.”

May you remember Dr. Seuss’ gentle counsel: “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” Continue to be more than you ever dreamed you could be… and more… so much more youer than you.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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1 Response to Authentic Servant Leadership Comes from the Inside Out

  1. Jack Beach says:

    “Don’t confuse leadership with talent.” This is a great insight and reveals one of the biggest organizational misidentifications. Too often the individuals deemed most talented are placed in positions of leadership within the organizational hierarchy without evaluating the person’s ability and willingness to enable, develop, and grow the talents of others so as to increase their ability to uniquely contribute to the corporate mission and goals. People in positions of leadership should set the example but they are leaders only to the extent they encourage the efforts and uplift the spirits of others, deepen others’ sense of confidence in themselves and their hope in the future, enabling them to achieve more than they expected they could, to realize new possibilities, and to become more self-fulfilled than they ever dreamed possible.

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