Note: This post is the first in a series of Servant Leadership Lessons from the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2010.
At the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast, Connie Podesta focused on connecting our personal and professional lives. She also covered a range of topics including some humor (and interesting facts) surrounding the common differences between male and female communication styles. However, the servant leadership themes I took away from Connie included: leaders should align work and personal lives and they must remember that everyone is always leading by example (my words, not hers). As leaders serving your organization, aligning your personal lives with work lives and not attempting to balance the two, is something I wrote about here. It’s also critical for the serving leader to remember they are always on stage – setting the example for others, as their teams are for peers. Below are some highlights from her talk, aligned to these themes:
Work / Life Alignment, Not Balance
- “There is no separating your personal and professional life”
- Leadership is a 24×7 job
- When consulting, clients often suggest there is not enough time to address the employee’s personal lives and interests, but she finds that is the most important part and necessary.
- “When it comes to material possessions we need to focus more on what we need and not so much on what we want.”
- If you think you need your job, you’ll never be happy at work.
Everyone Is Always Leading, By Example
- You’re on stage every single day of your life
- Your kids, clients, family, employees, church congregation, etc. are all in the audience – they are watching you and trying to decide how you are going to influence them
- “There’s not a human being in your life you can make happy”
- Leadership has changed from 20 years ago, employees and children have not.
- Employees and children have always looked to leaders and parents, taking their cues for how to behave from them
- “Character is defined not by how you are when life is going good… Leadership comes out when your life is so far from what you had planned, that you can barely breathe.”
Before leaving, she asked the audience if they are happy with the personal choices they’ve made. Then, are they happy with the professional choices they’ve made. She let it hang there, before exiting.
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