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“Everything you do in life is about serving another human being, and as long as you stay focused on that, you’ll never burn out. You may get tired, we all get tired, but you’ll never get bored of it because you’ll always understand what you’re here to do is to help other people. That is always energizing.” – Howard Behar
You may have heard of servant leadership and the transformative power of it in our organizations, careers and lives, but for most people, they’ve never seen it in action so it remains a vague and elusive concept. To address this important topic and to help us learn specifically how to embody servant leadership in our lives, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to speak with an individual who has dedicated his entire life to servant leadership, and embodies it both professionally and personally.
Howard Behar’s career in business spans over 50 years, all in consumer oriented businesses covering several industries. He retired from Starbucks Coffee after 21 years where he led both the domestic business, as President of North America, and was the founding President of Starbucks International. During his tenure, he participated in the growth of the company from 28 stores to over 15,000 stores spanning five continents. He served on the Starbucks Board of Directors for 12 years before retiring.
Hailed as “a hero of conscious capitalism,” “a passionate advocate for leading with purpose,” and a devoted student and teacher of the Servant Leadership Model, Howard’s motivational message inspires everyone to be a servant leader and to lead with and from their values first.
As a renowned leader, speaker, author and mentor, Howard’s wisdom, generosity, and level of integrity have had a profound impact on thousands of people who have been touched by his example, books, and speaking. As the ultimate servant leader, Howard is known for such memorable lessons as “The Person Who Sweeps the Floor Should Choose the Broom” and “Only the Truth Sounds Like the Truth.”
Howard is also the author of the classic book It’s Not About the Coffee, a guide to leading by putting people first, and The Magic Cup, a parable about the power of personal values, and he now travels the world speaking to leaders, organizations, and students.
In today’s episode, Howard reveals the steps you can take to become a servant leader yourself, along with his powerful “6 P’s” that can become a powerful framework for the way you live. Living these traits will make a profound impact not only on your own life, but in the lives of every other human being with whom you interact.
Highlights from this Episode:
- The concept of servant leadership, and how becoming aware of it resulted in Howard leading in a different sort of way [4:58]
- Why he says that servant leadership isn’t actually a leadership model, and how he views it instead [7:56]
- What is keeping many people from becoming true servant leaders [10:21]
- The differences Howard sees in today’s world versus past generations, and the magic that can happen when the values of the organization match the values of its employees [14:14]
- Why he believes so strongly that you need to love the people you lead, and how he feels about business as a spiritual endeavour [17:21]
- How to approach a conversation with an employee who is falling short in the workplace [19:54]
- What to keep in mind about your personal values and the role they should play in your career decisions [24:39]
- A breakdown of Howard’s powerful “6 P’s” for a rewarding life and career [28:10]
- The single biggest block people will face on their journey to living these principles [32:14]
For More Information:
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Other resources mentioned:
Howard’s Books, It’s Not About the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks & The Magic Cup: A Business Parable About a Leader, a Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First
The Servant as Leader by Robert K. Greenleaf
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“It doesn’t make any difference what your job title is or what you do, there’s only one reason we’re here, and that’s to serve other human beings.” [5:24]
“When you have people that are narcissists in the work world, most of the time they’re narcissists when they go home.’ [12:07]
“Young people want to be part of something that’s bigger than themselves. They want to feel good about what they’re doing, and they don’t want to be just doing stuff.” [14:18]
“When values match, trust gets built. When trust gets built, then organizations work.” [15:32]
“There’s nothing wrong with having goals. The question I would ask though is how do you want to achieve the goal? [Is it] on the backs of people, or with people?” [21:15]
“The most important person you have to have patience with is yourself, because things don’t just come at the rate you want them to come.” [30:39]
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