Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results – Ken Blanchard Book Summary

Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results – Ken Blanchard | Free Book Summary

Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results – Ken Blanchard

Servant Leadership in Action is a collection of essays and stories from 44 celebrated servant leaders. It explores the concept of servant leadership and how it can be used to create great relationships and results. 

The book discusses topics such as the power of servant leadership, creating a culture of servant leadership, and leadership development. It also provides practical advice on how to create a supportive and successful organizational culture, how to build trusting relationships, and how to lead in difficult situations. 

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The book provides valuable insights for anyone interested in learning about the power of servant leadership and how to create great relationships and results

What Is Servant Leadership?

The traditional hierarchical pyramid is effective for the leadership aspect of servant leadership. Kids look to their parents, players look to their coaches, and people look to their organizational leaders for vision and direction. Free book, podcast summaries

While these leaders should involve experienced people in shaping direction, the ultimate responsibility remains with the leaders themselves and cannot be delegated to others

Once people are clear on where they are going, the leader’s role shifts to a service mindset for the task of implementation.

Employees become responsible instead of responsive

When there is a conflict between what the customers want and what the boss wants, the boss wins. You have people quacking like ducks: “It’s our policy.” “I just work here.” “Would you like me to get my supervisor?” Servant leaders know how to correct this situation by philosophically turning the traditional hierarchical pyramid upside down when it comes to implementation.

When you turn the organizational pyramid upside down, rather than your people being responsive to you, they become responsible—able to respond—and your job as the leader/manager is to be responsive to your people.

The Leader creates Eagles, not ducks

This creates a very different environment for implementation. If you work for your people as servant leaders do, what is the purpose of being a manager? To help your people become eagles rather than ducks and soar above the crowd—accomplishing goals, solving problems, and living according to the vision.

The leadership aspect of servant leadership—is the responsibility of the traditional hierarchy. The servant aspect of servant leadership is all about turning the hierarchy upside down and helping everyone throughout the organization develop great relationships, get great results, and, eventually, delight their customers.

One question every servant leader should ask

We should be asking “Do I really want to do this?” or

“Is this really the best use of my time?”

It reminds us that we’re operating in the present. Circumstances will differ later on, demanding a different response. The only issue is what we’re facing now.

To make the investment required reminds us that responding to others is work—an expenditure of time, energy, and opportunity. And like any investment, our resources are finite.

Can’t solve every problem

The time we spend on topics where we can’t make a positive difference is stolen from topics where we can.

Like closing our office door so people hesitate before they knock, asking ourselves “Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?” gives us a thin barrier of breathing room—time enough to inhale, exhale, and reflect on whether the outcome we seek is a true positive that is intended for the benefit of others, or a false positive that is intended to polish our own image.

For servant leaders who want to make serving others their primary mission, that’s a vital distinction.

Servant leaders celebrate others

When you are deliberate about celebrating all of your team members, you will find that retention and productivity naturally increase. The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported that 46 percent of employees who leave their jobs do it because they feel unappreciated. I believe one of the ways this statistic can be easily reversed is by leaders encouraging their people by celebrating their roles on the team.

The Servant Leader’s Focus

What distinguishes true servant leaders and makes them so precious to us is not that they do things for us—although they do. No, we are grateful to them because we know that they see and value us.

At times, we might be tempted to congratulate ourselves for all the good we do for others—for all the service we render. Perhaps you have too often been this counterfeit kind of servant leader—the person who wants to be noticed, seen, appreciated, and thanked.

This is why it is almost an overpowering experience to be in the presence of someone who is devoid of such self-concern, and whose efforts truly are for the good of others. What a blessing it is to know them, and to be known by them.

The Good Samaritan

Every day we have to choose to see people the way God does. Too many of us wait for our feelings to lead, and then if we feel compassion, sympathy, or obligation toward someone, our action will follow. Too often we view love as a feeling. But love is intentionally caring or helping another person by doing something regardless of our feelings. Real servant leaders make choices about people first, and then the feelings follow.

The Good Samaritan didn’t necessarily feel like interrupting his travel plans or spending his hard-earned money on a complete stranger. He simply saw someone in need and he made a choice.

Compassion: the heart of servant leadership

What is compassion to the servant leader? Compassion is not just a feeling; it’s an action. It’s allowing the emotion we feel to ignite the fire within to act—and to inspire others to act as well. To meet someone’s need. To offer our help. To set an example for others. 

How to spot ideal team players: The three virtues

Humble. The first and most important virtue of an ideal team player is humility. A humble person is someone who is more concerned with the success of the team than with getting credit for their own contribution.

Hungry. The next virtue of an ideal team player is hunger—the desire to work hard and do whatever is necessary to help the team succeed. Hungry people almost never have to be pushed by a manager to work harder because they are self-motivated and diligent. T

Smart. The final virtue of a team player is to be smart. This is not about being intelligent, but rather about being wise in dealing with people. Smart people understand the nuances of team dynamics and know how their words and actions impact others. Their good judgment and intuition help them deal with others in the most effective way.

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