Want to Lead? Learn to Serve! with John Hull

On September 23rd I had the distinct pleasure to spend an hour speaking with Dr. John Hull, CEO of two of John C. Maxwell’s global organizations, one of which is training 2 million leaders worldwide.
(BTW: John Maxwell’s books are required reading in the University of Tehran and the University of Beijing. Now THAT gives me hope for the future of the world!)

I share with you salient points from our conversation:
Great Leaders today need to be 3 things:

  1. Service Oriented: meaning a focus on others, with service to others; without a focus on status or power.
  2. People Oriented: valuing “people over project”.
  3. “Others Related”: with an constant outward focus on others.

In other words, “good leaders make other people’s lives better”.

His example? Truitt Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A restaurants, who for 30 years has taught Sunday school classes for junior high boys (talk about a leader with courage!) and was once caught ironing an employee’s shirt, because Truitt wanted him to look nice.

This story reminded me of the one told by Marshall Goldsmith about Frances Hasselbein, whom he called the best leader he’s ever known. Frances was the CEO of the Girl Scouts of America…she also made sure that Marshall’s laundry was done when she asked him to stay an additional day in town to work with her organization. She then personally brought his clean laundry to him in the lobby of the Girl Scouts headquarters.

John Hull said that “abundance leadership” has a consistent connection between the core values of the organization and the mind set of the leader. This includes truth in all things…even if it means showing your vulnerability…and constant demonstration of trust/trustfulness.

What I loved were the questions that he believes leaders must ask themselves: Why do I want to be a leader?” “Who am I?” “How am I gifted?” Where am I NOT gifted?” “Am I secure enough to surround myself with people who are secure where I am not?”

And I ask: “Can you release what you have to let it flourish in others’ hands?”

And finally, this quote from Napolean Bonaparte” “Leaders are dealers in hope.”