Our culture has it all wrong! We imagine the best leaders to be authoritative, with the leader being in front. Being bold and decisive and fearless. Being the person that the employees defer to. After all, that person is the boss, so their decisions must be right. And since this style of leadership is in our cultural DNA, it must be the best, right?
Let’s look at actual data. Sipe and Frick compared the results of three types of leadership over a ten-year period: “traditional” (using the S&P 500), “Good to Great” from Jim Collins’ book with the same title, and servant leadership. Here are the results.
The actual numbers are:
- Traditional – 10.8%
- Good to Great – 17.5%
- Servant – 24.2% – MORE THAN DOUBLE traditional leadership!
According to Sipe and Frick, a servant leader:
- Has character
- Puts people first
- Is a skilled communicator
- Is a compassionate collaborator
- Has foresight
- Is a systems thinker, and
- Leads with moral authority.
I attended a celebration welcoming a new business, Home Instead, to our community last fall. At the end of the event, the CEO, Todd Barth, worked unobtrusively alongside his employees in cleaning tables, putting chairs away, etc. The unglamorous, unappreciated, behind the scenes work. His actions exemplified servant leadership.
Want you and your employees to enjoy work more? Want to attract and retain the best and brightest? Try servant leadership – it costs nothing except for a changed mindset.
I hope that you and yours stay well and have a wonderful year,