Today we talk a lot about leadership. It is prevalent all over the news and in social media. The discussion often centers on the lack of leadership on both sides of any question. We send our youth to ‘Leadership Conferences’ and we discuss leadership at length in sports, government, church, business, school, and in our personal lives.

Dave DeRose is working on becoming a servant leader
Dave DeRose

While I spent much of my working career in the Plumbing and HVAC industry, I also served as an elected official both on my community’s City Council and as Mayor. I also sat on the board of several non-profit organizations as well as a locally owned bank.

In each of these roles, I witnessed and learned that there are three types of leadership.

One is the leader who loves to exercise power over others. Another is the leader who only looks for personal gain.
The third leader is one who wants to make everything better for all. I believe this last exemplifies what we call Servant Leadership.

This is not a ‘new’ idea. The idea of servant leadership goes back at least 2,000 years. But the modern servant leadership movement was launched in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf (

Performance-Based Contracting and the Servant Leader

When it comes to the High-Performance HVAC Contracting Industry, we have to understand what it means to be ‘Performance-Based.’ We can define it simply as HVAC performance means measuring the airflow and combustion of each system we encounter and bring it to the specifications at which it was meant to operate. This is a noble and worthy cause.

I define a Performance-Based Contracting firm as a company where every member of the team performs these functions to the very best of their ability.

John Wooden, the historic basketball coach from UCLA who guided that program to 10 national championships in 12 years, defined success as doing the very best that you can. This is an attitude that will drive every team member to deliver the best they can with every task.

That is a good baseline for any leader to strive for. I also believe such an attitude is the catalyst to inspire and empower every team member, creating great employees, no matter their position or job in the company.

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