Leadership’s lost challenge, part 1

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Millenials and the younger workforce today are very aware and uncomfortable with power dynamics. Their attitude is that authority must be earned and not assumed. They are inspired by leaders who lead by example and who practice what they preach. Leaders who exhibit humility no matter what title or qualifications they possess.

One of my favourite speaking topics is Servant Leadership. Whether it’s to people seeking to become leaders, or those who consider themselves good “leaders” but are looking for that nugget of inspiration to turn them into great ones. This style demands a specific leadership attribute: Humility. A severely under-rated attribute and one that leaders should embrace. And a complement to empathetic leadership.

It’s ironic that by being humble one can be powerful!

True leadership involves asking for feedback, acknowledging ideas from everyone at all levels of an organization, feeling what others feel. Servant leadership goes a step further. Here the goal of the leader is to serve, in an environment where power is shared, and the needs of the employees are put first. An environment that helps people develop and perform the best they can. It includes the voice of the employee, not just the executives, in decision-making.

Performance increases when everyone feels a sense of ownership and of being valued. This results in the success of the entire organization.

Gone are the days of the corporate “grand fromage” who issued orders from on high, and whose word became instant policy. In those days, such leaders’ authority came only by title or position.

Young workers today demand something very different. And of course, demographics are changing quickly. Today there is so much diversity in the workplace, the old model of leadership just doesn’t work.

I read a recent article about new, first-generation immigrant CEOs taking over the reins of the world’s largest tech companies. Most are humble, servant leaders who encourage curiosity, tolerance, collaboration. The time certainly has come for emerging leaders to steer, while bringing a refreshing style of leadership – one that stems from humility, gentleness, respect for others, and the desire to support employees and make them thrive.

Being immigrants, maybe it comes from having to start from scratch, and then contributing to the cultural shift that is so urgently needed in the western world. People coming from disadvantaged countries have seen hardship and obstacles and have had to learn to survive. They can teach resilience, entrepreneurship, resourcefulness, the importance of values, and the ability to find workarounds for all kinds of challenges.

Any immigrant will tell you stories about leaving prestige, high education and status behind in their homeland and having to start at the very bottom in their new country. This is humbling! You learn to value important things in life, like human relationships, hard work, determination, and the desire to succeed.

We are in the era where leadership by the younger generation and the hard-working immigrant, is needed in our culture. Bringing large doses of humility and an ability to serve while leading. Ergo, servant leadership.

No wonder these people are rising to the ranks of CEO of the biggest companies. No wonder the days of arrogant, autocratic leaders who believe they are entitled, are swiftly moving behind us. To be continued soon ……..

Interested in leadership? Email me: bernadette@gogettercoaching.com .

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