Black MBA - Fall 2014 - (Page 12)
The Art of Leadership
The servanT leader
The Servant Leader
Today's go-to leadership concept may be from the
1970s, but it's all about modern success.
All about how you become a servant leader and why
you want to be one.
by robin Farmer
ention servant leadership in some business circles and a common misconception
is that leaders meeting the needs of others - rather than focusing on personal
power, wealth and fame - are "soft."
That misimpression partly stems from the name itself, which was
coined in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf, the originator of the modern-era
concept and founder of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership,
an Indiana-based non-profit that promotes education about and
implementation of servant leadership.
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"Servant leadership is misconstrued in the marketplace sometimes
because of the term used to describe it," says Edward D. Hess, professor of business administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence
at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia. "It's really
being open, honest, trusting and helping people to develop into
being all they can be, and [in return] they help leaders accomplish
objectives. But it is not soft, it is high standards. Look at UPS; it
was a servant leader company for over 100 years...and no one
would call UPS soft."
Hess credits his colleague, Alex Horniman, with inventing a shorthand description of how servant leaders operate around employees
and customers. "He calls it the three I's, which stand for I invite,
include and inspire."
Research led by Adam Grant, Wharton's youngest tenured professor
and author of the bestseller Give and Take, found that by focusing on
helping others develop and grow, servant leaders not only cultivate
highly-engaged and prolific employees committed to the company's
mission, their selfless actions make them even more productive
and effective. In other words, greedy takers move over; being a giver
leads to success, too.
With businesses slowly emerging from a period where a lot of people
put themselves first, anecdotal evidence exists that interest in servant leadership is growing as companies try to change course.
"I do think the servant leadership movement is gaining momentum,"
says Susan Steinbrecher, business consultant, executive coach and
co-author of Heart-Centered Leadership: Lead Well, Live Well. "Many
leaders, especially those in the Baby Boomer generation, are looking
for more personally fulfilling roles, ones that will make a real difference in other people's lives," says Steinbrecher, whose book explores
seven principles to adopt to become a servant leader.
So what must servant leaders do on a daily basis to maximize their
effectiveness while helping to create success for those around them?
How do you join their ranks?
the roAd to serVANt leAdership
The journey to becoming a servant leader starts with investing
time in examining your attitudes and beliefs about leading, says
Hess. Start with what you believe is the role of a leader. Is it to tell
people what to do? Then you will be a very different leader. "If you
believe your role is to help people be all that they can be, and be part
of something special and build a high-performance organization,
business, church, charity or whatever...you must think about what
is leadership, why you want to lead and who are the followers. Many
leaders believe they are better than the followers and that sets up
a hierarchical relationship. Some people look down at employees,
so be real honest."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Black MBA - Fall 2014
From the NBMBAA® Board Chair
From the President & CEO
The Servant Leader
Leading the Way: Erika James
Winning in the Era of the Rising Freelancer
Black MBA - Fall 2014