Servant Leadership Lesson: John C. Maxwell at Chick-Fil-A Leadercast

The best leaders serve their organizations in many ways, but one critical attribute is through their ability to connect. Highlights of John C. Maxwell's comments on serving and connecting follow.

Note: This post is the fifth in a series of Servant Leadership Lessons from the Chick-Fil-A Leadercast 2010.

John C. MaxwellJohn Maxwell has an amazing ability to connect with you – whether you are one member of an audience of 65,000+ (as we were this day) or one-on-one. This is appropriate, given that his latest book is entitled, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect.” This was the main topic of his presentation – Connecting with Others. The best leaders serve their organizations in many ways, but one critical attribute is through their ability to connect. Highlights of Maxwell’s comments on serving and connecting follow:

  • “Leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less.”
  • Definition of “Connecting: the ability to identify with and relate to people in such a way that it increases our ability to influence them.”
  • “Some of my best thinking is done by others.”

It’s Not About Us

  • “Connecting is all about others… It’s not about us”
    • “If you help other people get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want.” – Zig Ziglar
    • “You put other people first”

It’s Not Lonely At The Top

  • Some people say “it’s lonely at the top” but that’s not true.
  • “If you’re up at the top all alone, nobody’s following you.” It’s not lonely at the top.
  • What real leaders do, is they get off of “the top”. They go to where the people are.
  • Then they bring the people (followers) to the top, with them.


  • When someone thinks of themselves first, they’re immature. They’re selfish.
    • That’s okay when you’re a small child.
    • However, it’s not okay when you’re 35, 45, 55, and you haven’t figured out that it’s not about you yet!
    • “When you become a leader, you give up your right to think about yourself first. Leadership is always about others first.”

Connecting Requires Intentionality

  • “Connectors understand if they’re going to connect, they’re going to have to give it a lot of energy.”
    • “It requires intentionality, it requires energy to connect.”
    • Who is that person you need to expend energy to connect with.
    • Find Common Ground
    • “What makes connectors effective is they are constantly looking for common ground.”
    • Make time. Walk slowly through the crowd. Let people connect with you.
    • “Anybody that’s kept at a distance won’t hurt you, but they won’t help you either.”

More From John C. Maxwell

Latest Book: Everyone Communicates, Few Connect
Free Download:

The Power of Motivation MP3


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Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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