Leaders Help Others Win

Heart of Leadership 2Mark Miller embodies the heart of the entire Chik-fil-A organization. And Miller’s new book, “The HEART of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow” is the epitome of a powerful parable with the potential to positively change lives.

Miller has a long tenure of practicing first what he later preaches to others. With a track record of thirty plus years of service with the trademark chicken sandwich chain, Miller pours out his deepest wisdom to create his best book yet. Self admittedly, this is Millers most exciting work and one that, like him, I believe can truly impact a generation of emerging leaders.

Similar to Blake, the story’s main character, I too am a young and aspiring leader who has experienced a fair degree of leadership success. These wins, however did not come without a cost and certainly not without their difficult challenges, crisis situations, and tests of competencies. But as the young businessman in the book had to learn, I too had to arrive at the conclusion, early in my career, that leadership is not a title, promotion, or even an opportunity to be given. Instead, the heart of leadership lies in a set of specific character traits that are developed over time and ultimately for the betterment of others.

In the opening section, Miller explains that leaders are different. And furthermore that leadership character is distinct from basic character traits. Every decent person should at least be expected to have some element of honesty, perhaps a little character, and hopefully a knack for telling the truth. Unfortunately, as anyone who has even the slightest experience in the real world will tell you, these elementary assumptions about integrity among corporate personnel are not always present. Neither the nonprofit nor public sectors are any better off than the ego driven and selfish personalities, common of private organizations.

As Blake learns through the mentoring of Debbie Brewster, whom we originally met in Miller’s first book “The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do as well as a cast of other sage leaders from various industries, the heart of leadership is the rhythmic beat that brings life to great leadership.

So what is this heart of leadership? At the center of it all, Miller explains that leadership HEART is a combination of five characteristics: a hunger for wisdom, expecting the best, accepting responsibility, responding with courage and thinking of others first. If you were only able to begin learning one of these outstanding traits, it is suggested that you begin with thinking of others first, for it will bring transformation to every relationship you’re involved with –whether just casual or intimately committed.

Some of my favorite leadership quotes from the book include: “There is more to leadership than great individual work” (p. 4), “The servant leader constantly works to help others win” (p. 27), “The future has not yet been written –it is written by leaders” (p.46) and “Leadership character, like other character traits, once established, is hard to hide” (p. 66).

One would do well to read this short story, apply its principles, and begin imparting the truths contained within it on the “Blakes” in their lives. In fact, I have already given a copy to one of the young men I am discipling.

Definitely worth your time reading, but the real value is gained only if you apply the treasure of content.


[Guest Post] Mark Miller on “The Heart of Leadership”

Heart of Leadership (1)Originally Posted on greatleadersserve.org on Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I’m really excited about my new book, The Heart of Leadership. However, when I met with my publisher about 8 months ago, the future of the project was uncertain. My publisher is a truth teller. I love that – and at times, I don’t. Here’s the story…

I went to San Francisco to meet with the entire publishing team with the goal to get them energized to create, promote and sell the book. After my presentation, the feedback was mixed. In fact, I was told people don’t read books, and if they do happen to start one, most don’t finish it.

I wasn’t sure where this conversation was going – how was I supposed to respond? These trends may be true, but these people publish books for a living! Were they testing my passion for the book, or were they serious?

As the conversation unfolded, someone suggested since people don’t finish books they start, maybe I should put the good part early in the book. Honestly, I had already tried to edit out all the “bad parts.” Then someone asked, “Of the five leadership character traits you outline in the book, which is most important?” I hadn’t thought about which trait was MOST important. However, it didn’t require much thought before I responded, “The most critical leadership character trait is the demonstrated ability to Think Others First.” Steve, the president of the company said, “Why not lead with that?”

If you decide to read The Heart of Leadership, you’ll see I took Steve’s advice. Even if you don’t finish the book, once you get to Think Others First, I believe you’ll have hit upon the most critical aspect of becoming a leader people want to follow.

When you and I can develop a “Think others first” mindset, it colors everything we do as a leader. Our thoughts drive our actions. When we think about others first, we’ll lead differently. When we demonstrate this leadership character trait, people know we are for them. They can sense our genuine desire to help them win.

In the book, I share a few ideas on how to make Think Others First a reality in our daily lives. Today, I want to share one idea that may be helpful.

When you encounter any other person, ask yourself the following question:

How can I add value in this person’s life?

You may be surprised by the answers you’ll come up with. Maybe it’s as simple as offering encouragement; maybe it’s a resource you can provide; it could be some coaching or feedback; you may know someone you need to introduce to them (I was told recently, the most valuable thing we can share with someone else is our friends); or the value we add may be as straightforward as an expression of genuine concern or appreciation.

There are many ways to cultivate a Think Others First attitude. It’s not important how you do it; what’s critical is that you and I devote our lives to becoming this type of leader. If we’re successful, we’ll be on the journey to becoming a leader people want to follow.

Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow with those who are ready to take the next step. You can find it on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.

Mark Miller



Accelerate Through Obstacles

Today’s blog is  a guest post by leadership experts Don Maruska and Jay Perry, co-authors of the new book, Take Charge of Your Talent”. This book is definitely worth the read and can be seen as a personal and professional investment for those looking to sharpen their career skills, thrive in the workplace, and find fulfillment in life. I will be posting a review of their work later this month, but for now, enjoy the guest post!

Do you avoid pursuing what you’d like to be doing because there are too many obstacles in your way? If you change your attitude and approach to those obstacles, they can actually help you accelerate your progress.

Approach obstacles as mysteries and an invitation to use your talent:

Sherlock Holmes did not view obstacles as something to avoid. For the famous detective, an obstacle was a sign that “The game’s afoot!” – There’s something worth engaging. If we get stuck in avoidance mode, our minds check out. On the other hand, if we think “How can I pursue what I want and solve this mystery before me?” our minds stay engaged. The situation shifts to an opportunity to use our talent and resources to accelerate through it. Be an obstacle detective, and let your mind work on a solution.

Obstacles provide opportunities:

More than invitations to use your talent, obstacles also provide positive opportunities. For example, a client faced severe scheduling challenges and couldn’t commit some team members to required training. OK, that’s an obstacle. The obstacle presented an opportunity, however, to train its own leaders so that they could lead the training for those employees in smaller groups with schedules that fit their needs.

Where are the opportunities in the obstacles you face? If you can’t see them, invite someone to listen to you and help you see the potential.

Use these accelerators:

Insights from neuroscience, psychology, and coaching best practices, identify proven steps you can take to accelerate through obstacles. The first step is to keep your hopes humming. When we keep focused on what we hope to realize, we engage the creative, productive parts of our brains. The second entails approaching our talent with a growth rather than a fixed mindset. As Stanford professor Carol Dweck highlights in her book “Mindset,” this keeps us open to trying new approaches, learning from what doesn’t work, and expanding our talent. Finally, try a healthy stretch. Like you would in Yoga or any sport, find the point where you are neither frazzled nor under challenged. This is your growth edge. If the obstacle is too big for what you can tackle, call upon other people and resources to help you.

We will outline each of these steps in subsequent blog posts. Detailed instructions and real-life examples appear in the book “Take Charge of Your Talent.”

To enjoy life more fully, embrace the obstacles you face.

Don Maruska and Jay Perry, co-authors of “Take Charge of Your Talent”, are Master Certified Coaches who help people take advantage of business and personal challenges in unique and powerful ways. To learn more about the Take Charge community, visit their website, or follow them on Twitter and Facebook. “Take Charge of Your Talent” is available at Amazon and can be found in bookstores nationwide.

Take Charge of Your Talent (info graphic)