Servant Leadership Leads to Record Profits
Every business leader has to decide what philosophy to embrace when making tough decisions. Servant leadership, the concept of putting the people in the organization ahead of the decision-maker’s own interests, can produce especially compelling results.
Popeyes Chicken CEO Cheryl Bachelder recently expounded on the benefits of this method for the Harvard Business Review, after her decision to focus on her franchisees’s success and profits led the company to eight years of growth. (Bachelder, Oct. 26)
The key to being a good servant leader is measuring whether situations of those you have chosen to serve have improved. If a leader is personally happier and more successful, but no one else is, this is a failure of servant leadership, and the company as a whole is likely suffering in both financial and cultural terms. The employees are likely unhappy, disengaged, and not focused on the company’s success. Unfortunately, a situation found all too often in today’s corporate world. Bachelder lamented, in fact, that the concept of looking out for the greater good is often overlooked among baby boomer leaders, to their detriment.
Personal achievements for CEOs and other leaders – including increased earning and resume-enhancing successes – shouldn’t be seen as marks of business progress. Servant leadership is the process of putting one’s own plaudits aside and using the perspective of those you serve as a lens to view the organization. While looking after the whole organizational structure is typically a path to overall corporate improvement, identifying and serving the constituency that most impacts the business, in Bachelder’s case the franchisees, will most dramatically enhance the success of the business overall.
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