Servant Leadership and Communication


I recently was asked to speak on a panel about Servant Leadership for SmartCEO. Servant Leadership is a “servant-first” philosophy made popular by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s. This theory basically states that a leader should focus more on the people who are being led, than on the needs of the person in the leadership role. In business, it means that a company leader lets go of self-importance for the greater good of the organization and its employees.


One of the staples of servant leadership is communication. Without clear communication, employees lack the guidance and direction they need to grow as productive team members within the business. Most companies who struggle with communication do so not because the employees are bad, but because they haven’t been taught how to properly engage with one another. If communication skills are not part of new hire training, it holds back the people, and the company, from reaching their potential.


Many servant leaders understand that communication is much more than talking. It is about setting goals, helping people truly grasp what is expected of them and more importantly; why. Very often employees need to understand how they will be measured. Are there performance reviews? How is the employee doing? What are they doing and what do they need to improve on? Clearly communicated expectations help the employee define and embrace their role within the company.


It also opens the opportunity for employee to share ideas and suggestions. Very often the lack of communication results in a lack of understanding of your staff’s potential, and how they can help you, the leader, to achieve your goals. Many employees have great concepts that could help save the company money, grow revenue and/or boost customer engagement. Without open and clear communication, a leader remains unaware of an employee’s abilities and therefore cannot properly encourage and motivate them.


Servant leaders have learned that if you really want to build relationships with your employees, you must learn how to communicate effectively. By serving your employees and creating an environment of open and clear communication—either through training or regular employee reviews—you encourage a more efficient, engaged and productive workplace. Unleashing employee talent will not only help them reach their goals, but help your company reach its goals as well.


by Gary Pudles, CEO and President of AnswerNet

Servant Leadership from AnswerNet CEO Gary Pudles at SmartCEO’s Matrix Event


(April 3, 2013) Willow Grove, Pa. – Gary Pudles, CEO and President of AnswerNet, will discuss servant leadership at the Philadelphia SmartCEO Matrix event on April 4, 2013. The Matrix is an educational, invitation-only event for local c-level executives. Pudles’ experience managing and leading over 50 call centers throughout the United States and Canada makes him an ideal addition to this illustrious panel.


Made popular by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s, servant leadership is best described as a “serve-first” philosophy. Pudles fits the bill of a servant-leader, having put AnswerNet’s front-line employee—the contact center agent—at the epicenter of the management structure.


“The philosophy of putting our agents at the center of the management structure means that they have the tools, training and management that makes them the best in the industry, and by extension, they provide excellent service to our clients,” said Pudles. “This structure also allows natural leaders to emerge—people who have demonstrated the core values and an interest in a career path. Some of our most successful operations and sales people have started out as agents. By AnswerNet’s managers serving the needs of our agents, we can promote from within, build employee longevity and keep our customers longer.”


The Matrix event will be held at Hyatt Regency Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing. To learn more about this event or to purchase tickets, visit To learn more about Gary Pudles and AnswerNet, visit


About Gary Pudles:

Gary A. Pudles is the CEO & President of AnswerNet and co-founder of SubOut and Splendtastic. He is a nationally recognized entrepreneur whose expertise in heading startups and identifying revenue-generating opportunities has made him a success as a business leader, educator and motivational speaker. Pudles is an “Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year” award winner, a published author and a highly sought-after host and interviewer for business and communication trade shows and events.

About AnswerNet:

AnswerNet is the world’s largest privately held telemessaging (telephone answering) firm and full-service provider of inbound, outbound, electronic and business process outsourcing (BPO) call center services. AnswerNet operates over 50 contact centers within the continental United States and Canada. AnswerNet provides a wide range of services, from its core capabilities of telephone answering, hotlines, customer service sales, lead qualification and market research to a variety of business process outsourcing options including CRM hosting, email management, and order processing. The company processes more than 60 million contacts every year, for a client base of 35,000. AnswerNet’s award-winning approach has been recognized many times, including in Inc. Magazine’s annual “Inc. 500 List of Fastest Growing Private Companies,” Customer Interaction Solutions Magazine’s “Top 50 Teleservices Agencies” and SmartCEO Magazine’s “List of Best-Run Companies.”