What Servant Leadership Looks Like: Ukrainian President Zelensky

 In Leadership, Leadership Development, management

What does Servant Leadership integrity look like? Watch Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, a former comedian turned politician. Confronted with an unprovoked attack by Russia, he stands his ground. With encouragement and determination, he rallied his country on TV and in the streets to stand and fight.

While the West invited him to leave under protection, he leads by example on the front line to fight the invaders. Zelensky courageously replied to the offer with, “I need ammunition, not a ride.” His personal integrity demonstrates his commitment to his country and its citizens. Nearly a year later, under Zelensky’s leadership, Ukraine stands strong. An inspired country defies the odds and causes the once feared Russian military to retreat.

What Leadership Looks like: Ukrainian President ZelenskyThe Worldwide Leadership Crisis: A Lack of Integrity

Unfortunately, worldwide leadership is in a crisis mode. Too many leaders lack the personal integrity to do the right thing. Their goal is personal profit not serving the people. Consequently, employee distrust is rampant. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, trust in government has declined sharply. In addition, CEO trust dropped significantly, too.

For example, consider the US Congress. According to surveys only 8% of Americans give them a high or very high trust rating. Members of Congress are one of the lowest rated professions in terms of honesty. They are adults, yet they continually call each other names and refuse to play nicely together. In addition, they desire to get their way or win another term, rather than collaborating for the good of the country. It seems their focus is the party not the people. We see more temper tantrums in them than in two-year-old children. As a result, problems only get worse, and the country is tearing itself apart from the inside.  They are to blame. Based on their current behavior, if they were in Ukraine, most would tuck their tail and run or join the other side.

How Would You Rate Your Integrity?

President Zelensky exhibits seven qualities of personal integrity that emulate Servant Leadership. You will be set apart from others with these characteristics. They define your character. This means doing what’s right, upholding strong moral principles and values. Certainly, these actions create trust with others. So, what can you do to gain trust on a day-to-day basis with your team? Check these out:

    1. Do what you say you will do.
    2. Follow-through on your commitments.
    3. Communicate with passion, encouragement, and consistency with your team in meetings and one-on-one coaching sessions.
    4. Listen genuinely and with empathy to your team’s concerns and issues.
    5. Express your views openly, with determination, and likewise expect the team to do so as well.
    6. Handle conflict constructively.
    7. Tell the truth.

Pulling It All Together

What Leadership Looks like: Ukrainian President ZelenskyDo you want more employee engagement, a highly productive team, and a breakthrough in your team’s effectiveness? Lead with these integrity behaviors as the core of your actions. As a result, they will inspire your team to achieve more success.  Nelson Mandela said, “As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You can never have an impact on society if you have not changed yourself… Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of honesty, but humility.”

What Servant Leadership Looks like: Ukrainian President Zelensky


Also, do you want to benchmark your career with the habits of extraordinarily successful people? If so, check out this complimentary inventory and action plan: Servant Leadership: Leading by Example.

In addition, do you want to really advance your management career? CheckWhat Servant Leadership Looks like: Ukrainian President Zelensky out Rick’s best-selling books, The Superstar Leadership Model and The 5 Dynamics of Servant Leadership.

Finally, for more in-depth career development and acceleration go here: 21 Servant Leadership Training Lessons.


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