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Chris LoCurto

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October 24, 2011

Servant Leadership From A Quarterback

October 24, 2011 | By | 25 Comments">25 Comments

Last week was the EntreLeadership event that I teach here in Nashville. After speaking for 20 hours in three days, my brain is still trying to form actual sentences.

The event is about leadership. And if you’ve listened to me much, you know that I believe servant leadership is the only style that ultimately works. It is your job to spend your time making your team successful – period! You should be asking them if there’s anything they need. Do they have any questions? Do they understand all the aspects of their jobs? Is there anything you can do to help them?

Recently, the great Marianna Gibson sent me an article in the Nashville City Paper written about the Titan’s new quarterback, Matt Hasselbeck. It’s a great story that includes how he became a QB as a freshman in high school. Funny reason! Down in the article was a paragraph that made me proud:

“At the end of the day, I think for me, I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the guys on the offense — specifically on the offense as a quarterback — to help those guys be successful — whatever that means,” he said. “If you’re working out in the summer and you’re the guy that brings the water for everybody … it’s almost like you’re serving them.”

“OK, what can I do to help you? What can I do to make your job easier?”

Servant leadership! What a concept in a sport that seems to have lost the meaning of team. OK, that was a little harsh … maybe not. It’s refreshing to see a guy, who by all rights leads the team on the field, by actually serving them. Wow! That type of leadership garners the respect of those around you; even if those around you are incredibly talented in their own right.

Traditionally, “bosses” put themselves in the role of dictating to their team. Servant leaders try to stay off the self-imposed podium. Instead, they try to lift their team by meeting their needs and providing whatever it takes to, once again, make them successful.

Question: What does servant leadership look like to you?

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    As you say, the Cardinals have a great set of receiving corps, and Leinart showed plenty of poise, something he can easily build on. But will Arizona’s O-Line give him the time he needs, or will he end up running for his life? That line has too many question marks.

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    Denver are ready to win now, and could give San Diego a serious run for their money in the AFC West. Cutler will play a big part in this, I think. He showed plenty of promise towards the end of his rookie year, and he could truly blossom.

  • http://lgthaxton.wordpress.com Louise Thaxton

    I do too, Chris – but here’s the deal – so do all 1,100 employees! He is a beloved leader – and a great role model for those of us who follow him – to model HIS leadership for our individual teams.

  • http://lgthaxton.wordpress.com Louise Thaxton

    A couple of weeks ago, I was attending a conference, along with several others from my company, in Palm Desert, CA. Although we live in different parts of the country, the owner and CEO of our company and I ended up on the same return flight to Dallas – where I would catch a connecting flight. When I boarded the plane, he was sitting in first class and I was about to pass him when he asked “…where are you sitting…” I responded “the back of the bus…26A!”

    When I got seated, he came back to my seat, handed me HIS first-class ticket, told me he had worked it out with flight attendant -we were exchanging seats!

    I protested (very weakly, I admit) – but acccepted his gracious offer. WOW – I have to say I don’t fly first class! But it was wonderful! The woman beside me in first class could not believe he had done that. I told her “he is a servant leader….”

    And he is. And that is what it looks like. And I have a lot to live up to —-to be that same to my team.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      WOW!!!! I like this guy!!

  • Chad M Brignac

    Another great post Chris. It is a pleasure to read your point of view, especially when I agree with it! Maybe one day we may have a growing conversation together.

    It is tremendous to have such a great example of a servant leader in the NFL who knows his responsibilities to lead. As more teams in our world understand, not just the NFL, the importance of a towel around their arm and a basin in their hand the sooner we will develop greater leaders. 

    It requires a strong sense of self-value to put your needs aside in sacrifice for the gain of another. However, the reward as a leader is unexplainable in words. It is good to receive but it is great to give. Servant leaders understand this principle and most importantly know their identity.

    I hope as leaders read your post they are compelled to serve even while they don’t think they should. In the end they will change everything about themselves and their team.

    The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. Max De Pree”

    A man with a towel, eager to wash!

    Openly Yours,

    Chad M. Brignac

    “Designing  Difference”
     From the Inside Out

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Great input Chad! I love how much incredible commenters like you add to the conversation that is helping others!!

  • mike d

    Chris,

    I took your course in Nashville last April.I l love your work on the podcast and now I am following your blog. All great info!

    I had ESPN playing in the background as I was getting ready this morning and I heard a question that stopped me in my tracks. Jon Gruden asked Ray Lewis in an interview, “What makes you a good leader?” Ray answered, “Because I’m willing to serve before anything else. Thats one of the greatest attributes I think a leader has…”

    Thanks for continuing to motivate!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Wow!! Ray Lewis said that?! That’s awesome! And thanks for the compliments!!

  • http://www.cabinart.net Jana Botkin

    Servant leadership – teaching your blog readers how to post consistently by posting consistently, when you have been working non-stop for days and are exhausted. Teaching your blog readers how to respond to every comment by responding positively and enthusiastically when you are probably way too busy.

    You are even being a Servant Leader through your blog, Chris! Thank you for consistently modeling the way to have a great blog.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Wow! Thanks for the amazing encouragement!!! As always, you rock!!

  • http://twitter.com/mahez007 Uma Maheswaran S (@mahez007)

    To me, servant leadership looks like —

     Treating co-workers as partners, not competitors
     Deferring to others when they have more expertise
     Consistently treating people with dignity
     Providing effective coaching and developmental feedback
     Recognizing others’ achievements
     Building people’s confidence
     Taking risks in letting others make decisions
     Giving people the freedom they need to do their job well
     Trusting people enough to let go
     Demonstrating effective emotional responses in a variety of situations
     Genuinely listening to others
     Encouraging people to challenge the status quo
     Avoiding political or self serving behaviour
     Standing up for what one believes in

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Nice Uma!

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric Speir

    This is a great example of servant leadership. I like to work in the trenches with my team whenever possible. We have several big events a year and while I do coordinate these I don’t make moving tables and chairs with the people that work with me. Not only does it help the team but it also builds loyalty to the organization with the other team members. They know that I’ve never asked them to do something that I haven’t done or am not willing to do.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Well done sir!

  • http://peachyperspective.wordpress.com peachyperspective

    One thing I appreciate about true servant leaders is that they recognize the skills, talents and competence of the people they are working with, mold those into the bigger picture and project, and don’t micromanage. They ask, “How can we focus on your strengths and make you shine while still accomplishing the goals of the project?”

    I have to remember it is a daily conscious decision to have this attitude and help those around me.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      That’s exactly it!! If they aren’t focused on recognizing others, they’re focused on themselves.

  • Jesse Brown

    Chris,
    One mark of a servant leader is one who never gives up on his team when often they have given up on themselves. I have 18 people on my team in my business and pastor a church. Leading from the top down never works, but when you serve people, they will begin to dream bigger, work harder and serve each other. It does take more time to lead this way but it IS WORTH IT!

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Amen!!

  • http://joelfortner.wordpress.com Joel Fortner

    I’m willing to wager he’s been mentored by at least one other servant leader somewhere along the line! What does servant leadership look like to me? It looks like what I wrote about in this post, Chris – http://wp.me/p12mkt-g7. This is the one you tweeted. I thought I’d share it here for others to read if they wanted.

    • http://Chrislocurto.com Chris LoCurto

      Great post!