“What makes a good leader?” I was asked across a dinner table. To answer this you need to understand what makes a serving leader. You need to acquire the qualities and character that make people want to follow you over “the top of the trenches”.
I have been exploring leadership for some time. As a disciple of Peter Drucker I have read nearly all of his work, and I have spent much time interpreting of the exploits of modern-day leaders such as Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric and comparing their styles to historic leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill, Horatio Nelson, and Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Shackleton is arguably one of the greatest serving leaders ever and provides the backbone of this simple leadership model. He looked after the comforts of the team. He was a mother hen. He genuinely cared for his team members as if they were his own flesh and blood. He saw a leader as one who served rather than one who was served. He dutifully took his turn performing the most menial of chores and expected his leadership team to do the same. He was “a Viking with a mother’s heart.”
Having studied these leaders I realized that one is unlikely to succeed unless you have built your foundation stones well enough, learned the lessons and put into practice the traits of a serving leader.