The Hard Truth Podcast: Servant Leadership


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In today’s episode, we delve deep into the concept of servant leadership, contrasting it with traditional leadership models that prioritize power and control. We discuss how prioritizing the needs of others, coupled with embracing humility and vulnerability, can revolutionize the way leadership is viewed and practiced. We’ll explore the unique challenges that come with adopting a servant leadership style, such as balancing selflessness with authority and managing the varied expectations of team members. Additionally, we’ll examine the profound benefits of this approach, including building stronger, more cohesive teams and fostering an environment of trust and respect. Join us as we discuss real-world examples and hear from experts who have successfully implemented servant leadership principles. Learn about the transformative potential of leading with a servant’s heart and how it can lead to more effective, ethical, and sustainable leadership practices.

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Welcome to The Hard Truth Podcast.

Today, I’m gonna be talking about servant leadership and serving others.

Definitely something that’s missed in today’s world.

Next to personal fitness and mindset, this is my favorite subject, and I want you to take notes and stay tuned.

So why is servant leadership missing in today’s world?

Why can a lot of people not understand the big picture in life?

See, everybody wants to make the most money, everyone wants to have the best relationships, everyone wants that job promotion, all of those things in life, and they are focused on the wrong things.

Today, I’m gonna talk about servant leadership.

This is something that has not only made me millions of dollars, but more importantly, fulfilled something that I’ve been missing and something that has gave me a purpose and able to give me a legacy to leave my kids.

That definitely is something that I’m more proud of than anything.

So I’m gonna get into it today, and we’re gonna talk about, really, I’ve got six different points that I’m gonna talk about.

I’m gonna talk about, number one, what is servant leadership?

I’m gonna talk about the characteristics of a servant leader, the benefits of servant leadership, the challenges and criticisms, and then I’m gonna end up of letting you know how to implement true servant leadership.

So let’s get into it today.

What are some of the biggest things that people don’t understand about servant leadership?

It’s because today’s world, we’re so familiar with traditional leadership.

Now, I’m gonna talk about servant leadership here in a few minutes, but traditional leadership is when people have a belief that others should follow them because they’re the one on top.

They’re the boss, they’re the CEO, or maybe if you’re the parent, you think, you know what, my kids should listen to me just because I’m the dad or I’m the mom.

They don’t understand that that kid is going to listen to you if you are the example.

You are the one that don’t show the stressful moments.

You show the one, you are the one that’s controlling life, that understand that also you’re there to serve your kids.

You’re there to serve the people you work with.

You’re there to serve the ones maybe that is below you in a position at work, or maybe you own a company.

And you’re saying, you know what, I don’t know how to get some of these people motivated.

Guys, it’s all about servant leadership.

So understand that servant leadership is not only gonna be the way for greatness in your life, but it’s also gonna help bring that community together and help you be more productive.

So what is servant leadership?

Servant leaders, first and foremost, as you know, it puts others first.

So many people struggle with this.

We are a selfish people.

I’m gonna give you an example here in a few minutes and prove to you that we are a selfish society.

And a lot of people don’t understand the concept of putting others first.

I mean, think about everything you do on a daily basis.

Are you getting up and saying, I want to be the best I can be, for I can definitely be a benefit and bring value to others.

When you see someone struggling, do we step on them or do we listen to them and say, you know what, how can I help you?

And maybe it’s just to listen, but maybe it’s also to lend a hand to them to help them through a life situation.

Servant leaders put others first for sure.

They also find a way to serve the many.

For service to many leads to greatness.

This is something that a lot of people don’t understand.

Every one of us have to understand the greatness part is not just about how much income you earn, not just about the high of title you have at your current position, not just the fact that you own a company, or maybe you’re the parent of two or three kids.

It’s all about leading to greatness is what you need to be striving for.

The other thing about servant leadership is they focus on growth and well-being of people, not what the person can do for them.

So many people, and I’ve been in leadership role now for more than majority of my life, 20-something years, and I have so many people that they think that they only need to pay attention or try to help people that can maybe give them something back in return.

That is not servant leadership.

I could tell you all day long about different relationships that maybe I’ve poured into for years that maybe I could say today, maybe I did not gain a lot of value for that, but you know how good it feels in me to know that I hopefully made a difference and an impact in their life, and I did not go to that purpose and try to bring that value into their life just because I can gain something.

Once you understand this from a mindset standpoint, is I’m going to give and expect nothing in return, that’s when things really start blowing up in your life.

You know, I did a webinar, I guess it was a live presentation, and I did a questionnaire, and all of you know, most of you know that I own a company here in Dallas, Texas, and we have an affiliate program, so I did a poll, and in this poll out of 100 people, I really put two questions that I wanted to determine the character from these people.

Out of 100 people, three of them got it wrong, and the question was pretty simple.

It was number one, which one do you think you need to focus on more?

Do you need to focus on the compensation, how to maximize compensation, recruit good affiliates, all these different things, and I’ve listed them down there, and those three individuals chose that answer over the second answer that I asked, which the second one, it was a multiple choice, so I didn’t do a good job of explaining it, but you know what I’m saying, was should you understand that we, if you’re a servant leader, put other needs first, then good things will come.

I don’t remember exactly how the question is, what was worded, but that is what the point I’m trying to make is in servant leadership, you cannot worry about all the little details of I’m gonna do this because it’s gonna make me more money.

I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna call this person, sweeten them up because it’s gonna help me advance to this level.

I’m gonna go over and offer that guy coffee for free because you know what?

They know somebody that’s gonna help me.

Servant leadership is definitely the key to greatness, but it has to be something that comes natural, something that is legitimate, and you gotta do it and expect no return.

Next characteristics of servant leader.

First is humility.

I watch so many people that have a little bit of success in life, and next thing you know, it goes all to their head.

Guys, humility is the key to servant leadership.

And that’s something that has, thank God, that has always been good for me is to remain humble.

Also, acceptance of others regardless of who they are, and then empower those that are less talented and help them achieve.

So that is another key characteristic to a servant leader.

So ask yourself right now, you might be doing a workout, you might be driving down the road, maybe your life is not where it needs to be, and you’re sitting here asking yourself during this podcast, am I truly a servant leader?

Let me ask you how humble you are.

Do you accept people regardless of where they are in life?

And are you taking those people, maybe you work with, maybe it’s in your company that you own, are you accepting those that are less talented, and you portraying that servant leadership, for they look at you and say, I wanna be like that person, and therefore we’re able now to get into their space and to help that person achieve more, even if they’re not as talented as some of the other ones.

That is a characteristic of a servant leader.

Also, servant leaders, they choose service over status.

That is pretty simple to understand.

I’m gonna serve others, regardless, if it makes me get a job promotion or not, but I’m gonna choose service over status.

Also, characteristics of servant leaders, understanding of how to lead different types of personalities.

This is a characteristic that has to be learned through experiences, you know.

I’ve got two boys, 16 and 14.

My 16-year-old, I can pump him up and get him excited.

I know what he’s thinking.

It’s so easy for me because he has a personality a lot like myself.

If I tried to lead my other 14-year-old the same way, he shuts off on me.

I have so many different leaders that I’ve worked with that own different companies.

All cops of different positions and a CEO standpoint, all these different things, and they’ll call me and they’ll say, well, I don’t understand Barbara.

I don’t understand why she won’t listen to me.

And basically after learning the whole situation, I’m like, you’re trying to lead Barbara the same way you’re leading these other 50.

Barbara is different.

We’ve got to spend time getting to know Barbara, what motivates Barbara, what Barbara is here for.

Some people are here just to make extra money.

Some people are here because they want to feel like they’re bringing value and they want to know that you care.

Understand you have to lead people in different ways.

Don’t try to lead every person the same way.

Now let’s talk about the benefits of servant leadership.

See, a lot of people, they don’t understand the true benefits of servant leadership.

Number one, I’ll tell you this.

Give and it will be given to you.

Now this explains it in the Good Book pretty simple.

This is the benefits.

Give and it will be given to you.

A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over will be poured into your lap for with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

So it’s pretty simple.

The more you pour into people, the more that’s going to come back.

Now, this is something that’s so hard for people to understand, but it’s in the good book, and it’s pretty clear and simple that you, if you’re not giving in to people in relationships, your time and bringing all this value, then you’re not going to be able to have any measure for yourself.

Also, benefits of servant leadership, and I could talk about this, you know, in a 45-minute podcast all day long, it creates a ripple effect that continues long after you are going to be gone by impacting others.

See, I’ve told my kids since they was young, I said, you know, I’m going to leave you guys some things in life, some materialistic things.

I’m going to leave you some finances, some different things like that.

But the one thing that I want to strive for more than anything is when you come to my funeral, I want people coming up to you and saying over and over that your dad made a difference in my life.

Your dad impacted me.

I could tell you stories all day long of people that I helped with, that abused alcohol.

I could tell you stories of relationships that a husband and wife was falling apart.

All these different things.

And I cannot wait for the day that my boys understand that statement and understand that ripple effect.

See, that’s what true servant leadership is.

I could be a CEO and an owner of a company, and if I didn’t teach servant leadership, if I truly didn’t, you know, be an example of what I teach, then you know what?

At that funeral, there might be 50 people or it might be 500 people.

But if my kids do not hear from others that I impacted their life, then I was not a true servant leader.

And if you are a servant leader, that needs to be something you strive for.

At your funeral, people come and say, the humility was in that man, and that man or that woman truly made a difference in impacting my life.

Now let’s talk about the challenges and criticisms of being a servant leader.

So there is, just like anything, there’s challenges and criticisms in any type of leadership style that you want to go at.

But servant leadership, I’ll tell you, it’s not as sexy, and you will be criticized.

But I’ll tell you this, if you are afraid of criticism, you will die doing nothing.

Now the reason it’s not as sexy as traditional leadership is because traditional leadership, it’s all about putting your badge on and saying, I’ll have this position, or whatever the situation that I gave you later, the different examples.

Servant leadership takes, number one, working on yourself as hard as you can work on yourself.

Number two, being the example that people say, you know what, the way he walked in the room, the way he shook my hand, the way he looked me in the eye, you know, ask yourself every time you leave a conversation with someone, does that person leave saying, you know what, after talking to Jeremy for five minutes, I feel really good about myself.

You know what, he told me I look sharp.

He gave me a compliment.

You know what he said, and I truly believe it, that if I need anything to reach out to him, guys, it’s not as sexy because it takes more effort.

And you can’t teach servant leadership unless you’re a servant leader.

But I promise you, there will be challenges and criticism, but I already told you about the ripple effect, and it will be worth it.

Also, there is a commitment and sacrifice of your time, balancing work, family, and personal life, and then still dedicating time to others.

It takes time.

It takes some balancing of different situations.

But the reason it’s so important, it’s the person you become in the process is what makes that ripple effect.

Also, the challenges and criticisms, we are born selfish.

And so you have to get rid of that selfishness in you, and you say, you know what, I might not want to drive across town to shovel a driveway for a lady that maybe can’t get out of her house.

I’d rather stay in the bed with it being warm.

Or you know what, I know that Shelly is struggling, but I don’t want to take her a free cup of coffee and sit down at her desk and spend four minutes with her and say, Shelly, what is bothering you?

You know, I see that you’re carrying a heavy weight on you.

Is there anything that I can do?

It takes time, but it will be worth it.

But we got to get out of our selfish mindset.

Now, here’s an example I’ll give you, to prove that we’re all selfish, is if I gave you a group photo right now, every one of you listening, just imagine there’s about ten people and it’s a group photo, you’re in it.

And I take this picture and then I give it back to you.

Who is the first person you look at in that photo?

It’s yourself.

And you know what?

If you love that photo, it’s because you look good in it.

Now, I promise you that if you get over that and you say, you know what?

It’s not about self.

It’s about what I can do to help others.

You’re going to be a servant leader.

Next, you will be taken advantage of.

This is another criticism and another challenge about being a servant leader.

You will be taken advantage of, and you will have to give, without expecting anything in return, some seeds sprout and produce, and some don’t.

This is something that bothered me earlier in my years of being a leader and being in the leadership role.

I really thought that if I poured into someone, I’m talking about poured my time, poured my heart, poured my soul into someone.

You know, just like you listening to this podcast, you know, I don’t do any ads or anything on this podcast.

I’m going to train.

I’m going to educate myself.

I’m going to try to deliver a message every week, once or twice a week, to help you become better.

I did that so much in my 20s and early 30s, and then I watched people seem like they took advantage of that time.

And it’s almost like they didn’t understand what I was trying to teach them, or maybe they then talked about me behind my back.

That is a challenge and a criticism.

Some take that and produce, and some don’t.

But if you understand again what I was talking about on the ripple effect, you don’t worry about the ones that don’t.

You don’t worry about the ones that criticize you.

You understand the power of the ones that produce are going to go out and plant seeds that others are going to produce, and it’s going to continue to carry on that ripple effect.

Next thing is implementing servant leadership.

Now, you listen in today and you say, okay, Jeremy, I get it.

I do not want to be a traditional leader.

I understand servant leadership now and what it means, the characteristics of being a servant leader, the benefits of servant leadership, the challenges and criticisms.

I’m willing to take that.

Show me how to implement this, how to put it in action.

And this number one is a quote that I’ll share with you.

No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of someone else.

The best way to find yourself is in service to others.

So you have got to understand that I am going to you.

You might be worth $10 million.

You might be worth 100,000.

You might have a negative net worth.

We’ve all been there.

But you listening today, no one is useless if we can lighten the burden of someone else.

And that is the way to find true meaning in your life.

Next is a poor is a man or a woman whose future depends on the opinions and permission of others.

So your mindset today, you’ve got to be in where I’m going to be a servant leader, and I’m not going to be a poor man or woman because that is a person that their future depends on the opinions and permissions of others.

I don’t need their permission and opinion of others.

I am going to be a servant leader, and I’m going to implement this on a daily basis.

Everyone, excuse me, everybody can be a great because everyone can serve.

This is the next point.

I’ll read that one more time.

I’ll mess that up.

Everybody can be great because everyone can serve.

Every one of you listening today, you say sounds like a great message, man, but I just I just work at a normal job, and I don’t really know what I can do.

You can serve one person at a time, making difference at one person at a time.

You might have an older lady that that live beside you.

You can go get her a cup of coffee.

You can take her a newspaper.

You can put up her trash cans.

There’s someone at your work that is burdened and needs that load lightened.

You can sit down with them for four or five minutes and listen to them.

If you’re a CEO of a company, and you’ve let things go to your head, and you’re thinking, you know what?

I’m the CEO.

Why do I need to do that?

It’s because you’re missing the whole meaning of bringing value to others.

I want to share with you a story here at the end, and hopefully you understand now, and you have the mindset that servant leadership is the true way to greatness.

And I’m going to share this story, because so many times people hear a message like this, and they get all excited, and they say, you know what?

I want to serve, I want to serve.

I want to be that leader, but I don’t know how to, and it’s talking about that one person at a time, and that’s what this story is going to mean to you.

There was a kid, true story.

There was a kid on the beach, and there was a big tidal wave that come through.

And there was thousands and thousands of starfish on the shore.

And this little boy was down there, and he was picking up these starfish one at a time and throwing them back into the water.

And this older gentleman come down, and he said, Son, may I ask what you are doing?

He said, I’m taking these starfish that got washed on the shore, and I’m putting them back in the water for they can live.

And that man looked at him.

He said, Son, I understand that’s what you are doing, but why are you doing it?

Because there’s thousands and thousands of starfish here.

You’ll never ever be able to save all of those thousands and thousands of starfish.

And that boy, without saying a word, bent down and picked up one more starfish, and he showed it to the man, and he said, Sir, you may be right.

I might not be able to save thousands and thousands of these starfish, but I made a difference to this one right here, and he threw it back into the water.

See, that’s what servant leadership really means to me.

You may not have that title or own that company or be in that high present audience that you think, I can’t really make a difference to thousands.

I’m not big on social media.

I don’t have a big title at my job.

I don’t earn a lot of income, and therefore, I’m not as important.

That’s not the way it works.

Can you pick up one starfish at a time and make a difference in his life?

Can you help that one lady, that one gentleman, that one teenager that maybe just needs a camping trip, that may just need some time that you can spend with him without the phones and say, how can I give you some wisdom to help you not make the mistakes that I made in my life?

So my heart’s desire out of this podcast is for you today to listen and have a determination that I’m not going to move towards the traditional leadership and chase just possessions and materialistic things and money and do whatever I have to do to step over someone, to have financial gains, or to have people thinking that I’ve arrived in life because I’m at this title.

I hope you listen and say, you know what?

I think Jeremy is right.

The true greatness and what I need to shoot for is service to many.

Thank you guys for joining us on this Hard Truth Podcast.

Share this with your friends and family if it made an impact to you today.

Follow me on social media, also jeremyfouts.com, and I’ll see you on the next Hard Truth Podcast.

I Fouts