iStock_000017262828XSmallTwo weeks ago my post/cast described the foundation of effective service and leadership: living well, being of positive physical well-being.

Last week’s post/cast presented the second step: serving well, being a servant leader to those around you.

If you’re living better and serving better, we can look at the third step: lead well.

Leading well is preceded by your positive wellbeing and health, then by a consistent demonstration of your servant heart during every interaction with others.

Leadership does not come from one’s title or power or knowledge. It is a privilege earned through trust, service, and respect.

Let’s define leadership as the process of inspiring team members to align themselves to the organization’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals.

It is the leader’s responsibility to clarify the organization’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals. Once defined, the leader must embed these elements by communicating them consistently and reinforcing them daily in order to build team members’ understanding and commitment to them.

The “goodness” of your leadership efforts boil down to two key metrics – team member contributions and team member engagement.

Team member contributions are the result of the application of every team member’s knowledge and skills in service to the organization’s goals. They deliver on performance promises daily.

Team member engagement is each person’s feeling of trust and respect in the workplace, of values alignment by leaders and peers, and of doing meaningful work, every moment.

If your leadership efforts do not result in consistent contribution from every team member as well as demonstrated engagement by each team member every day, you need to change what you’re doing. Fast.

What do #GREATBosses do? It’s not complicated. They inspire Growth, honor Relationships, inspire Excellence, ensure Accountability, and spur Teamwork.

You can improve your “batting average,” boosting team member contributions and engagement, by embracing the proven behaviors of #GREATBosses.

Leadership is an active process, not a passive one. Simply announcing the organization’s purpose, values, strategies, and goals does not inspire or align! #GREATBosses observe closely, listen intently, and engage willingly to help set the context for team member’s efforts each day.

I’d like you to consider one additional desirable outcome that I believe leaders should strive for: to inspire team members to live well, serve well, and lead well.

I remember my best boss, Jerry Nutter, having intentional conversations about these concepts with me and my peers often. Jerry observed us closely and coached us proactively. Jerry coached me to take better care of myself (which wasn’t a focus of mine in those days).

For example, our hours were varied and long. Jerry would give me mornings off after a late night training session. He’d suggest I order something other than fried foods during our “eat when you can” meals. He’d encourage me to keep up my exercise commitments.

Jerry engaged me on these wellbeing issues as well as on ways I could serve better and lead better. He helped me stay on track with my best intentions – one of many reasons why he was my best boss ever.

Don’t leave team member contributions and engagement to chance. Be intentional – live well, then serve well, then lead well.

What do you think? When are you most effective at inspiring contribution and engagement? What beliefs or practices get in the way of you leading well, every day? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Subscribe to my free weekly blog & podcast updates. Subscribers enjoy two “fabulous and exclusive gifts” which include my Be a GREAT Boss ebook plus an excerpt from my new #GREAT Bosses tweet book.

I invite you to add your experiences to two “fast & free” research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

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S. Chris Edmonds

S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of The Culture Engine and six other books.
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Reader Interactions


  1. I was talking to Jim Kouzes today (The Leadership Challenge) and he mentioned research he and Barry Posner conducted that leaders directly account for 30% of employee engagement. That number goes up when you add in resource allocation, training/mentoring, and other types of support for which leaders are responsible. Is there any doubt about a leader’s impact? The answer should obviously be no. Leaders make a HUGE difference when it comes to employees being engaged (or not).

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