I read a great article last week by Eric McNulty, “You’ve Got to Serve Someone”. The article references an extensive study that basically validated the positive impact that a culture of servant leadership has on individual and organization performance.
It is always nice to receive quantitative evidence to support what servant leaders have always believed. The secret to making a significant positive impact in this world is to be focused on the greater good of others above and beyond yourself.
I do my own informal study with leaders at every servant leadership training session that I conduct. I always ask the question, “What are attributes of the person you would hold up as your favorite boss?”
I have never heard any of the following answers:
- Micro-manages me
- Takes all the credit for work accomplished within our team
- Never admits they made a mistake
- Consistently loses their patience
- Won’t listen to my ideas
- Does not care what is going on in my personal life
- Thinks they are more important than everyone else
These are all attributes of the more traditional hierarchy, positional authority leadership that unfortunately many organizations still embrace.
Here is what I do hear, which further supports this study. People’s favorite bosses show the following attributes:
- Provide clear direction on Purpose, Vision, & Values
- Let their people know how critical they are to the organization
- Provide earned autonomy allowing people to use their creativity and brain
- Encourage people every step of the way
- Drive people to new levels of performance
- Provide training and development opportunities
- Caring, compassionate and focus on building relationships
- Drive trust by modeling the way
My informal research confirms people like working for servant leaders. I have also observed that the most successful organizations, as measured by profitability, sustained growth, performance, employee turnover, and employee engagement metrics, are normally led by servant leaders and have built a culture of servant leadership.
I don’t need any more data. Bottom line – people like working for servant leaders, and they perform at a higher level when they do. Organizations and communities benefit as well. Case closed. What are you doing to drive a culture of servant leadership within your platform?
“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” Mark 10:43-45