With technological breakthroughs transforming business and enabling the emergence of new businesses and new business models, it can be easy to forget that people are still the foundation of business. Relationships matter. Old leadership models of leading via hierarchy are falling away to leaders needing to lead distributed teams…
With technological breakthroughs transforming business and enabling the emergence of new businesses and new business models, it can be easy to forget that people are still the foundation of business.
Old leadership models of leading via hierarchy are falling away to leaders needing to lead distributed teams of individuals – networked teams – that may only be working on a single company project before moving to another company or project. This has been referred to “gig workers” or the “gig economy.”
Loyalty to a company, or even a leader, cannot be expected or counted on as organizations continue to transform to be more agile and competitive.
If this is the case, then where does servant leadership fit in to this changing dynamic? And more importantly, how do we develop a new generation of servant leaders?
There is undoubtedly a link between team success and how a leader serves the team. In Simon Sinek’s book, “Leaders Eat Last,” he explores this further. He describes the idea of a “Circle of Safety.” If a leader can serve the team well, and help each member feel safe, then the team will have greater trust and each member can focus on the most pressing matters rather than one-upping each other and acting in their own self-interest.
Have you ever worked on a team where the leader created this amount of trust?
In order to create a “Circle of Safety,” a leader must be secure in their own knowledge, skills, and abilities. Additionally, the leader must have an attitude of abundance. A leader who exhibits an attitude of abundance, recognizes that there is enough:
- Enough credit.
- Enough reward.
- Enough recognition.
“If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll have more than enough of what you want.” – Zig Zigler
Building servant leaders
The Baylor executive MBA program in Austin has invested in building servant leaders for more than 20 years. While their curriculum has evolved to meet new and changing business needs, one thing has remained, a commitment to cultivating servant leaders.
Students and alumni are given a number of opportunities to serve, not only during the program, but as alumni.
Here are a few examples of how Baylor’s EMBA program is building servant leaders.
- Prison Entrepreneurship Program – The Prison Entrepreneurship Program (PEP) is prison outreach from a business perspective. Baylor students volunteer as Business Plan Advisors to teach inmates the skills needed to prepare a business plan.
- Baylor Ethics Forum – The Dale P. Jones Business Ethics Forum is a multi-day event hosted on the Baylor University campus each fall. This annual event brings together renowned business leaders and experienced professionals with tomorrow’s leaders in discussions of major ethical issues impacting business today.
- Global experiential activities – In 2015, Baylor Executive MBA students travelled to Zambia as part of their 10-day global experiential learning program. While in Ndola, students and faculty held a one-day business conference for local leaders. This day was dedicated to an information exchange designed to help local leaders explore new ways of addressing some of their most pressing issues.
Why does servant leadership still matter? Because people will continue to lead organizations; becoming a servant leader doesn’t just happen by accident, it takes practice. Individuals who believe they can wait to focus on this skill once put in charge, are mistaken. If you wait to begin building this skillset, you will be behind. These skills require development and practice. If you don’t start practicing now, you won’t do it when you are in a position of real authority and leadership.
The outcome of doing this work is something that we all want in our careers – trust. Serving well, and giving to your team is the fastest and surest way to build trust.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." – Winston Churchill.
Learn more about how Baylor Executive MBA alumni are making their mark as servant leaders.
Baylor’s Executive MBA in Austin is part of Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. The EMBA program focuses on application-based learning combined with global travel experiences and allows professionals to balance the demands of working full time while completing an MBA. The program meets one-night a week for 21-months in Austin.
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