By MATTHEW BIDDLE, from UBNOW
Release date: March 16, 2021
Despite the longstanding notion that businesses exist primarily to generate profit, more and more organizations are adopting a new vision: servant leadership, in which leaders prioritize multiple stakeholders and improve society, while prospering financially.
Research led by James Lemoine, assistant professor of organization and human resources in the School of Management, shows how major companies are using servant leadership to benefit teams, the community and the bottom line — and how other executives can become servant leaders themselves.
“Fifty years ago, when retired AT&T executive Robert Greenleaf introduced the concept of servant leadership, it was a radical idea — that leaders could act as servants, emphasizing employee development and societal improvement with profitability,” says Lemoine, a trustee for the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. “But since then, research has consistently shown that a broad stakeholder focus by leaders is the best path for business performance.”
In a paper published by Business Horizons, Lemoine and his co-authors aggregated more than 200 published articles to demonstrate how servant leadership positively impacts five key stakeholders: employees, customers, suppliers/partners, the community and shareholders. In addition, they identified behaviors managers should embrace to implement servant leadership at work.
Here are their key findings for each stakeholder:
Lemoine co-wrote the article with Nathan Eva, senior lecturer, Monash University Business School; Jeremy D. Meuser, assistant professor of management, University of Mississippi School of Business Administration; and Patricia Falotico, CEO emeritus, Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
Sustainable Development Goals:
4. Quality Education
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals