I just read an article from Executive Excellence entitled, “New Wine, Old Bottles” written by Stephen R. Covey. It started out with a good metaphor about how bad it is to put new wine in old bottles. Covey compared that to how some CEOs do not always drop their old management style completely when they bring a new one. The new management style is tainted and will not run the way it is intended to, the way old wine taints the new wine so you do not get the unique flavors you paid for. Covey then tricked me when he started to write about an evidenced-based management technique called servant leadership. So that is why I titled this post “Old Wine In New Bottles.” No matter how you try disguising the old wine (in a new bottle) it is still the same old wine.
I have to give it to Covey though I like servant leadership. I thought about this article for a few hours and I just do not think of it as true leadership but supervisory. The servant leader is nothing more than a pleasant supervisor who does not hound you or your team whenever they get a chance. Comparing it to my current position, I try to follow the same 3 steps of a servant leader: 1) forming relationships based on trust, 2) giving win-win performance appraisals, and 3) being a source of help. In my job you need to trust one another or you both can get into trouble. I always give win-win evaluations to keep up morale. I am always there as a source of help.
I did however like Covey’s example of a great football coach and how the servant leaders have a lasting career for a team or university where as the other gets burnt out and jumps from team to team. It is true that the coaches who trust their assistant coaches and coordinators will be more successful because they are more often than not on the same page. Their trust and team depends on it.