Network Marketing, Servant Leadership, and Principle-Centered Coaching are the perfect partners for team growth and retention. By John Hackett Ed.D.

Network Marketing, Servant Leadership, and Principle-Centered Coaching are the perfect partners for team growth and retention. By John Hackett Ed.D.

Networking marketing is a rapidly growing segment of our economy, The concept of being one’s boss and working for yourself and being able to work with a small team is enticing. Freedom and wealth expansion possibilities seem endless. However many network marketers struggle with the freedom and accountability. Retention and team growth are often cited as big concerns for leaders in network marketing.

Interestingly, several studies point to similar issues of engagement and retention in traditional sectors of the economy. The 2017 annual Gallup polls on employee engagement report that only 1-5 workers feel they are being led to reach high expectations and rarely felt supported or recognized. A compilation of study results published in August 2017 in a leadership blog by the Lighthouse organization cites several studies across the globe showing a large disconnect between employer and employee perceptions of work issues. Further, several studies note as many as 51% of employees would accept a new boss before a raise, and similar numbers are looking for new jobs. Employees note lack of support, encouragement, and opportunities to grow to fuel their discontent. These same concerns may be evident to leaders in network marketing as well. Many report they would leave their jobs because of their boss.

Mark Miller, the author of Leaders Are Made Here (2017), stated recently at A Global Leadership Summit that the problem reported by Gallup and others is not an employee problem, it is a leadership problem.  Or it may be a lack of leadership problem. The cost of the issues noted above are great for network marketers and traditional business organizations and require a look at a different approach to leadership. This time is ripe to look at a new path.

Robert Greenleaf, in a 1970 article “the Servant as Leader” and a 1977 book Servant Leadership, proposed a radically different concept of leadership. He referred to this new view of the leadership as Servant Leadership. He stated that the role of a servant leader would be to put service to those who work with you are your priority.

“The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one’s capacity to lead is severely limited.” Robert Greenleaf ( 1970).

He further stated that the effectiveness of a leader should be measured by how those you lead grow as leaders and people.

This, of course, was considered a big break from the traditional top-down organizations but has been the subject of many a book on leadership. Stephen Covey, in several of his books, and Jim Collins’ research that led to “Good to Great” showed the effectiveness of a Servant Leadership approach.

Many critics claim this an expensive fad and weak leadership model that is too expensive. It is hard to consider Servant Leadership a fad as examples of Servant Leadership go back to Jesus and his development of 12 unlikely characters into a group that changed the world. Greenleaf would also argue there are many examples before Christ.

Leadership expert, Skip Pritchard in his e-book Becoming a Servant Leader (2015), addresses the second criticism stating, “Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant.” You don’t lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader. The question of expense is certainly true in any discussion, but when one considers the losses of productivity, loyalty, and retention, servant leadership is a wise investment

It is a fact that a Servant Leadership approach is hard because it isn’t a Plug and Play” several step system or formula because people don’t plug and play systems.

Servant Leadership is a lifestyle choice, a choice to serve first then lead and to care about the growth of those you lead.

Servant leaderships say who you are, what your Why and core beliefs are and how they look every day. It can be messy because relationships are messy, not step by step formulas. Relationships are paramount as Psychiatrist William Glasser once told me “John, it is all relationships.”

What then would be the traits of a Servant Leader?

Pritchard’s e-book notes nine characteristics of a Servant Leader.

A Servant Leader is One Who:

  1. Values Diverse Opinions

  2. Cultivates a Culture of Trust

  3. Develops Other Leaders

  4. Helps People with Life Issues

  5. Encourages

  6. Sells Instead of Tells

  7. Thinks YOU, not ME

  8. Thinks Long-term

  9. Acts with Humility

These characteristics would seem to be an especially perfect fit for a leader to implement working with a downline to support them to be the best they could be. This would enhance retention, sales, and team growth and development of future leaders.  A Win-Win all the way around at any level. In fact, Chick-Fil-A, Southwest Airlines, and Mary Kay Cosmetics are examples of businesses with a servant leadership approach to their employees or independent sales force. John Wooden and Bill Walsh, both known as tough coaches, rebuilt sports powers using servant leadership approaches

There are still two considerations to address when developing and supporting a servant leadership approach in any organization.

The first consideration is training. Training in Servant Leadership approaches provides the learning experiences, demonstrations, practice and feedback to promote the integration of the concepts for everyone in your organization. The key to a high level of retention is principle-based coaching and coach training program makes the expense an investment in people’s growth. By providing ongoing support to leaders to discover how to use their skills to enhance their leadership and support of their teams. Dr. Joellen Killion in Taking the Lead reports that this combination of training and supportive coaching produces a four-times greater level of transfer of training than traditional approaches

What is Principle-Based Coaching and what makes it so important for a network marketing company using a servant leadership approach?

Nicki and Grace Keohohou founded The Direct Selling World Alliance (DSWA) to provide a bridge to support direct sellers by providing coach and leadership training to network marketing leaders and teams.

The DSWA coaching and training uses certified trainers and coaches and is based on five principles which model servant leadership for leaders and teams.

  1. Service

  2. Trust

  3. Authenticity

  4. Integrity

  5. Respect

The principles can be visualized as stair steps leading to the bridge to support leaders to develop and use their skills to support and to encourage growth and success. What is the value of investing in Principle-Based Coach training and follow up Coaching?

  1. Coaching has been shown by DSWA data

  2. to increase levels of engagement and commitment by 8 times,

  3. to increase reported commitment by three times

  4. reduce by 50% the number of participants considering quitting

  5. much higher customer service and satisfaction

  6. Development Dimensions International, a 50-year-old leadership training firm, notes in its global Leadership Forecast 2014/2015 that despite spending millions on leadership training that many organizations need leaders. They also note that training by itself, especially mass events, are largely ineffective.

  7. The Gallup Poll points to need to look at a different approach to Leadership, one that builds relationships at all levels, Servant leadership. This can be best learned and supported by a Principle- Based Coach Training and Coaching approach.

  8. A Principle-Based Coaching models servant leadership and can support network marketers and direct sellers to increase retention, grow leaders, and develop teams. This will make for more satisfied sellers customers and an increase in the bottom line.

A combination of Network Marketing and Servant Leadership supported and enhanced by a Principle- Based Coach Training, and Coaching team can be the recipe for success on many different levels for many people.

Nicki Keohohou of DSWA puts it well in closing. “We Build Your Business By Building up your People.” The combination of Network Marketers, Servant Leadership and Principle-Based Coach Training and Coaching will do this.

Greenleaf would be happy. I think many of us would be as well.


NetworkMarketing,ServantLeadership and Principle-ctr – John Hackett

John Hackett


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Collins, J. (2001) Good to Great. New York, NY, HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Covey, Stephen R. (2015) Primary Greatness. Simon Schuster, New York, N.Y.

Covey, Stephen R. (1980) 12 Habits of Highly Effective People. Simon Schuster, New York, N.Y.

Development Dimensions International newsletter (2017) Global Leadership Forecast 2014-2015

Evanish, J. Why Employees Leave Managers, not Companies (and what to do about it), Get Lighthouse blog Aug,2017.

Gallup  (2017)State of The Amerian Workplace Report, Gallup Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Glasser, W. (1998) Choice Theory, Harper Collins, New York, N.Y.

Greenleaf, R., Spears, L., & Vaill, P. (1998). Power of Servant Leadership. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Greenleaf, R (1977) Servant Leadership. New York, New York, Paulist Press

Greenleaf, R. (2002). Servant leadership 25th anniversary. Paulist Press.

Keohohou, N. and Keohohou, G.(2010) Build It Big The Direct Selling World Alliance.Kailua, HI

Killion, J.(2006)Taking the Lead Corwin, Sage  Publishers, New York, N.Y.

Miller, M (2017) Leaders Made Here Berrett-Koehler Publishers.Inc, Oakland Ca.

Prichard, Skip,(2014) Becoming a Servant Leader Ebook,

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