069: Christmas – What We Can Learn About Servant Leadership – Todd Stocker.com

If you’re a Christian or not, Christmas teaches us all about Servant Leadership. Today we learn from a great model who was the best servant leader ever!

On This Episode:

Today’s Quote:  “You’ll do more GOOD if you aim to SERVE more than you aim to PLEASE”. – Chris Edmonds

Most people recognize Christmas as a time when the faithful celebrate the coming of Jesus into the world.  So today, I want you to think through what Jesus did.  Even if you’re not a church-goer or spiritual, I believe Christmas is about Servant leadership.

Servant leadership is about fixing problems. 

So there are 3 basic components of fixing problems.

  1. Identify or become aware of a need
  2. A plan is set in place depending on the problem.
  3. Someone takes ownership of getting it done.  This is where servant leadership comes in.

So how does this sync up with the story of Christmas?

God identified a problem with all of humanity in that wrong-doing (or sin) caused a break in our relationship with him.  He set a plan in place of paying the price for that wrong-doing with the goal of bringing people back into a loving relationship with him.  Jesus came to pay that price,  initiating the greatest act of servant leadership in the world — dying and rising to make things right.  


At its core, servant leadership is all about the leader being a servant to the people under his watch.



040: Leadership Begins Below Your Waterline [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

ledership waterline.001If I were to ask you to describe someone you know that you thought was a great leader, what would you say? Most likely, you would describe that persons skills, style, personality, drive and a plethora of other characteristics. But leadership is more that what we see a person do. Leadership is who a person is.


There are two realities of leadership. The first has to do with the skills, strategy, and methods of leading or managing. It is what people see us do. Making decisions, casting vision, leading problem solving are all part of doing leadership.  The second has to do with the heart or character of a leader. They must first watch their own life. They must have control over their emotions, have a servant mindset and take time for solitude.

There have been times when I realize that this is what I was missing and what is the most important part of your leadership. In your mind, picture a sailboat. It is floating on the peaceful ocean a few feet from shore with seagulls hovering above it’s white, flowing mast. The shiny wood deck glistens from the soft morning mist and it’s riggings are ready to go. That was the scene me and 15 other men experienced the second morning of a leadership   workshop in Corpus Christi, TX. Part of the workshop was to have an “out of the box” experience, something that we’d normally not do. Our captain had been sailing since he was a kid and gave us basic instructions. Simply put, he said, “listen and do what I say… that’s it.” We headed out across the bay. Suddenly, the boat lurched to a stop cause most of us to instinctively grab hold of whatever or whomever was nearby. We had hit a submerged sandbar a few hundred yards of the coastline. Immediately, our captain began barking orders lest we tip and sink. He had us go to one side of the boat then the other, shifting the weight to pry us free from the underwater sand. He also had us jump on the count of three to force the weight down then up. It worked and we were off into the water.

Later, I spoke to the captain about the experience and he said that often times, sailors get caught up in looking at the sails but forget about the most important part of the ship. That “most-important” part is what they sometimes call the “guts.” That experience illustrates what good leadership is about. Long term effective leadership begins with what is not seen in public. It is what is beneath the waterline. It is the guts. It is what is inside. It can make or break you as a leader. The “guts” of your leadership needs to be weightier than what is on the outside. My captain said that without a good balance under the water, the ship is easily pushed over. In leadership you can take this truth to the bank. History has thousands of illustrations of fallen leaders. Fallen not because of being externally out-pace, but internally weak. Often healthy leadership is hard to see. The boat metaphor makes me think that that is why we call it Leader-ship.

I was reading an article about a great leader named Dee Hock. He is the man who first conceived of a global system for the electronic exchange of value, becoming the founder and CEO of VISA International. In the article, Dee talks about the fatal move of first thinking about those whom you are leading. From many years of successful leadership he states, “The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self: one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words and acts.” He goes on to suggest that good leaders use a certain percentage of their time in leading oneself. “Control is not leadership; management is not leadership; leadership is leadership. If you seek to lead, invest at least 25% of your time in leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct.

Did you catch that? 25% managing his or herself so that they bring a full heart into their leadership responsibilities. Frank Vandersloot, Founder and CEO of The Melaleuca Wellness Company said, “You need to be a leader on all levels of your life.” Start with what’s beneath your waterline.

How do you do that?

  1. Practice Solitude.
  2. Discover your wiring.
  3. Continually seek to do first the wise thing.





039: Why People Pleasing Is Dangerous To Good Leadership [Podcast] – Todd Stocker.com

People-Pleaser-Door-Mat-leadershipMost leaders want to serve the best they can.  However, serving others and sacrificing core values, mission and vision is often the result of a people-pleaser mindset.  How do you balance both?


People pleasing is sometimes dangerous to good leadership.

“It’s an emotional trap when you start worrying about what other people think. You don’t have to please everybody any more than you can please everybody. It’s a myth to think that in order to be happy, you must be liked and approved of by everyone you meet.” Rick Warren, Saddleback Church.

Signs you might be a people pleaser from blogger, Jessica Dawson:

  • You crave for compliments. 
  • You want to be noticed.
  • You lie about your opinions.
  • You can never say no.
  • The opinion of others.
  • You sacrifice your own happiness
  • You hate confrontation. (I’ll add – you avoid confrontation. )

So how do you become stronger?  How can you be a servant leader without being a doormat?

  1. Keep the vision in mind.  Why does your organization/business/church exist?  What’s it’s mission?  Do you even know?  
  2. Slow down to make decisions.  Often people will want a snap decision from you and, especially if you’re an I — you’ll make emotional decisions which often are not based on fact. Very rarely do you need to make a decision on the spot.  Slowing down helps you hit a reset button so you can ask the important questions like, “What is the implications if I say yes or no?”  “I’m I making this decision either way because I want to please someone else?”
  3. Say no more than yes.  It helps you focus and clarifies to others what you’re really about.

All in all good leadership is servant leadership.  Your heart should be to serve people but that doesn’t mean that giving everyone everything they want is serving.  


011: One Secret Of Good Leadership – Todd Stocker.com

Leadership is a precious gift to business, home and community. While there are different types of leaders, there is one secret that all good leaders have in common. That’s the topic today on The Take Back Your Life Podcast


I’ve been a leadership junkie for years.  Some of my favorite  Rory Vaden’s ‘Take the Stairs, Malcom Gladwell’s ‘Outliers’ and my friend, John Nemo’s ‘Fired Up’.  (See below for links to these books).

Jim collins wrote ‘Good to Great’ and in it, he talks about 5 levels of leadership.  Here is a graphic to describe these levels:
Level 5 leadership — consists of the duality, some would consider to be paradoxical, of 2 key attributes:
  • Professional will —
  1. Creates superb results, a clear catalyst in the transition from good to great.
  2. Demonstrates an unwavering resolve to do whatever must be done to produce the best long-term results, no matter how difficult.
  3. Sets the standard of building an enduring great company; will settle for nothing less.
  4. Looks in the mirror, not out the window, to apportion responsibility for poor results, never blaming other people, external factors, or bad luck.
  • Personal humility —
  1. Demonstrates a compelling modesty, shunning public adulation; never boastful.
  2. Acts with quiet, calm determination; relies principally on inspired standards, not inspiring charisma, to motivate.
  3. Channels ambition into the company, not the self; sets up successors for even greater success in the next generation.
  4. Looks out the window, not in the mirror, to apportion credit for the success of the company-to other people, external factors, and good luck.

This one — Personal Humility — I call selflessness.

Selfless doesn’t mean, being a milk toast, non decisive or strong leader.  Selfless means someone who is confident in their abilities, is a competent decision maker, but makes decisions based on what is best for the organization – OR for their family not themselves.

For example, Nelson Mandela, Warren Buffett and the greatest selfless leader of all time,  Jesus Christ.  Even if you’re not a religious person and I know many of you listening aren’t, If you read about what he taught and how he lived and ultimately what he sacrificed for the world…  selfless.  He would put himself in situations where he knew he was going to be ridiculed or his reputation would be scared, but he did it for the cause.  He did it for his mission and that was to find people who were broken and offer hope.  Ultimately, the offered his life so that people could be back in a relationship with God.

Think about your leadership…  I believe everyone is a leader.  And the first person you lead is yourself. Are you adding value to them or are you giving yourself praise?  When you go to work, are you only thinking of how it will benefit you are how you can used your gifts and talents to benefit the mission of your company and organization.

Remember that being a selfless leader is the highest goal of good leadership.  2 ways to begin to become a selfless leader.

  1. Honestly evaluate your strengths and weaknesses – confirming and admitting both. This will help give you the confidence and humility that selfless leaders exhibit.
  2. Always take the blame and give away the credit.

Remember that this takes time to develop.