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Feedback is a gift. Last night my daughter said to me, “just what is the point of your blog, Mom?” In case you have the same question, I offer this answer …

I want to challenge you to re-think your approach to leadership. Or perhaps, come to a point of view on why you lead for the very first time.

Power and Authority.

The business leaders of my generation have been an embarrassing bunch. Their model for leadership can be summed up as “it’s all about me.” They strive for the highest position available to them. They use their position to wield power over others. They seek recognition and rewards for themselves. And they do whatever it takes to reach their personal goals, with disregard for the impact on others. This is the leadership model celebrated in our culture. These are the leaders on the covers of our business magazines. Think Donald Trump and you’ll have the right picture in your mind.

Every leadership position has power and authority. The question is, how will you use it … for yourself, or for others?

Achieving the Win.

I’ve discussed this notion with a lot of leaders. They quickly acknowledge that they have experienced leaders who are self-absorbed, and they abhor such a leader and the work environments they create.  Then they say the most interesting thing. “I am not that type of leader. I am an achievement driven leader. I just love the thrill of the win.” I call this the athlete’s response. Generally these leaders have played a competitive sport in high school or college, or maybe their competitions were for straight As in school. Either way, this model is best summed up as “It’s all about the win.” The leader chases stretch goals, they run hard towards them, and they drive the team to perform. Their psyche requires a win.  Everything is scored.

Every leader must achieve. I believe performance and competence are character traits of great leaders.  The question is who is the win for … for you, or for your team?

Get over yourself.

This brings me to the alternative leadership model.  I’ve dubbed it “Get over yourself.” My blog is to convince you that when you stop leading for yourself and your own outcomes, you start being a great leader with superior performance results. For you skeptics, there is research that confirms my point – three long view studies that prove when you lead for the sake of others you deliver superior financial performance results1. Said another way, you cannot be the top performing leader you aspire to, until you ditch your self-centeredness.  And it is simple to explain. No one else is inspired and motivated to follow you because of your personal ambitions. Followers are inspired by leaders who help them grow and reach their goals and potential.

The purpose of my blog is to ask you to explore a model of leadership where you serve the people and the enterprise, not yourself.  It’s the hardest, most counterculture, counterintuitive idea about leadership. It remains “fringe” thinking in leadership thinking. Skeptics are many. Some say it is an outdated notion. I beg to differ.

Cheryl A. Bachelder is a passionate restaurant industry leader who serves as CEO of Popeyes®  Louisiana Kitchen, a global chain of 2000+ restaurants.  Cheryl is known for reinvigorating great brands and inspiring leaders to reach their full potential - and the business results follow.  She has enjoyed a rewarding career working for some terrific leaders at Procter &Gamble, Gillette, Nabisco, Domino’s Pizza and Yum brands.

 

1Detailed evidence of increased financial performance of companies exemplifying a blend humility and professional will is shown in Jim Collins, From Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2001), chapter 4, 65.
1James W. Sipe and Don M. Frick, compare Good to Great companies to those that are servant-led; Good to Great companies site Level 5 Leadership as a component of a company’s success whereas companies implementing the Servant Leadership model attribute it as the predominant factor for success in Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing Wisdom of Leading by Serving (Paulist Press, 2009), Introduction, 2.
1Jim Stengal’s study of the financial results of 50 companies identified that business driven by a higher ideal, a higher purpose, outperform the competition by a wide margin, and frequently create both new business and entire new business sectors (26) in Grow: How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World’s Largest Companies (New York: Crown Business, 2011).
 The thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the individuals writing them, including Cheryl Bachelder, and specifically not those of AFC Enterprises, Inc., Popeyes® Louisiana Kitchen, or their respective parent, affiliate, or subsidiary companies.

© 2011 The Purpose Of Leadership. All Rights Reserved.

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