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Remember the Budweiser commercial where the young Clydesdale tries to pull the cart and because it’s not strong enough to do so, two adults push it? Suddenly the cart starts to move and, without being too anthropomorphic, you can feel the satisfaction of the young colt when it achieves its goal.   It’s a heartwarming commercial that makes me tear up every time. InBev, the owner of Budweiser, produced that commercial purely to market its product. At VLE the commercial is shown not because it’s cute, contains some incredible animals or an attempt to sell beer. The commercial depicts a perfect message of Servant Leadership.

Servant Leadership is a philosophy of leadership that puts the needs of others first in order to support the development and growth of the entire team. A Servant Leader is not concerned with self promotion and rewards are gained through the success of those served. It is a core principle of the VLI for good reason. The commercial portrays this leadership philosophy beautifully….in one minute! Additionally, only six words are spoken in the entire commercial. That’s it, six words at the end of the commercial and those six are more for emotional effect. Also, did you note how the adults, the Servant Leaders, assisted the colt…from behind? The colt had no clue that his accomplishment was facilitated by others. The symbolism is uncanny and goes to the heart of the qualities displayed by a Servant Leader. We typically think of a leader barking out directives and leading from the front in order to advance the team. A true Servant Leader can be just as effective through silent, sometimes unseen actions. Most importantly, ALL members of the team benefit. Yes, it is only a commercial but the powerful portrayal of Servant Leadership, the effectiveness of this style and the impact a true leader has on others is palpable. So, when the time comes, help someone move their cart.  The rewards are immense.
Chuck Wiedmeyer

About Chuck Wiedmeyer

Chuck Wiedmeyer is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Clinical Pathology at the University of Missouri. He is also the owner of Comparative Clinical Pathology Services, LLC. He has served as a VLE Facilitator for several years.

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