Don Barden has traveled the world and taught people from elite military groups to CEOs of private companies. And his goal in teaching all of them is to train them up to leave him. His model of leadership is what authentic servant leadership should be — and he’s got powerful words for leaders everywhere.

Who is Don Barden? Don Barden is an author, speaker, professor, advisor, and coach. He has traveled the world speaking to audiences of all kinds, from academia to military to churches. He is the owner and managing partner of The Perfect Plan Company as well as the owner and CEO of 3Ci, an Atlanta-based consulting firm that specializes in staffing, recruiting, and leadership training. Don received an M.B.A. in Global Technology Management and International Business and holds a certificate in cybersecurity from Harvard University. Don teaches decision making processes to U.S. Army Rangers, and was named one of the Top 30 Most Transformational Leaders in 2017 by John Maxwell.

Don’s mission is to make other people better by inspiring them to leave him. It sounds different, and that’s because it is. Don wants to give everyone a chance to learn who they are and what they contribute to the world, and then he wants to equip them to go and serve God in that unique capacity wherever God is calling them.


“These elite performers out there in the world really do lead with their heart. They all have a mission and its about caring for other people before they care for themselves.” — Don

“A true servant leader puts others before themselves.” — Don

“You can’t help some people. Their mission might not line up with yours and you may need to step away.” — Don

“Get up and do your thing everyday. God’s going to do the rest.” — Don

Action Steps:

  • Examine yourself for characteristics of authentic servant leaders: 1) They are creative, not competitive; 2) They exceed expectations at all times; and 3) They give forward without expectation of a return.
  • We often don’t act on a Bold Idea because we see are looking at the cost or risk to ourselves, rather than what the world will miss out on if we don’t follow that idea.
  • Part of servant leadership is to release the Bold Idea that God has given you.
  • When you equip people that are following you to leave you and your leadership, you are helping them to fulfill their role in God’s plan.

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