by Ben Lichtenwalner
Founder, Blogger and Speaker
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I started ModernServantLeader.com back in 2006, in part because I sensed some major forces coming together to make servant leadership more relevant today than ever before. Here’s why NOW, more than ever, it is the time for servant leadership:
Trust is at an All-Time Low
A Watson Wyatt study reveals total shareholder return from high-trust organizations to be nearly 300% higher than from low-trust companies. Yet, according to Stephen M. R. Covey, in Speed of Trust, only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in senior management.
Too many executives today consider leadership an achievement to be reached rather than a call to serve. The result is a lack of trust in their vision. In contrast, the servant leader serves first and is therefore trusted by the team. The result is higher trust, stronger performance, and better results.
It’s a New Generation
The emerging class of middle and senior managers today grew up in the 1980s. During those years, corporate layoffs were rampant and divorce rates skyrocketed. The culture of this group is one that expects no loyalty from the corporation and offers none in return. Instead, these emerging leaders seek individuals they believe in, are motivated by, and can follow, regardless of the brand behind their name.
Successful organizations need to seek and employ those leaders who motivate, inspire, and serve the needs of the company and its people. Without such servant leaders, success will not be sustainable, as the best people move on to organizations that do employ the servant-leaders.
Technology Enables, Empowers, and Demands It
In my book, Paradigm Flip: Leading People, Teams, and Organizations Beyond the Social Media Revolution, I argue that social media is enabling, empowering and demanding greater servant leadership. We see this through examples like the Arab Spring where thousands used social media to circumvent repressive regimes. revolted against his brand online.
For the first time, technology is enabling leaders to listen more effectively. Whereas before, leaders could only listen one-on-one and broadcast one-way, social media now enables a mass dialogue. Stakeholders make their needs known and the crowd supports those aligned with their beliefs. If you’re interested in learning more about how social media enable, empowers and demands greater servant leadership, here is a 40-page excerpt from the book.
Yes, servant leadership principles are timeless. Yet, perhaps now, more than ever before, servant leadership is needed to close the trust gap, lead a new generation, and empower our leaders for advances in communications technology.
Thank you for reading. I am honored by your interest, inspired by your efforts, and excited for what you will lead.
Question: What do you think? Is NOW the Time for Servant Leadership?