Sitting in the CxO’s office, I was stunned. He just asked me to covertly backup another person’s data before he fired them. This was the fourth senior level manager he would fire, less than a year after hiring them. The cycle was now complete for a third time, as his entire department had turned over three times in just under two years. As the technology leader for the organization, one of my unfortunate responsibilities was supporting these practices. This leadership style, or lack thereof, was in stark contrast to other methods I experienced to achieve success. That moment was the start of a long, winding path leading to the creation of The Modern Servant Leader website.
After experiencing success under many different circumstances and leadership styles, I recognized a key differentiation between leadership styles I supported and those I did not – sustainability. Although I did not yet know the name for it, I recognized servant leaders achieved the greatest success with an ability to sustain that success. In contrast, non-serving leaders used fear and borrowed from the future to obtain success in the short-term, often resulting in low morale, high turnover and limited sustainability.
No longer could I support these practices. No saint myself, I had allowed my skills and expertise to be used in support of leadership practices that offended me and it was time for change. With this background, I committed to researching leadership practices, naming my own beliefs and ultimately promoting the awareness and adoption of these practices. As a result, I was thrilled when I read about servant leadership. I found that servant leadership captured the source of true leadership, delivered sustainable results and aligned with my own values and beliefs.
After years of studying servant leadership, comparing it to my own experiences – both good and bad, I wanted to share what I learned with others. Thus, The Modern Servant Leader (ModernServantLeader.com) was born. This site is dedicated to spreading the awareness, adoption and support of servant leadership practices with an emphasis on modern trends, challenges and technology. If you have any questions, suggestions or other feedback, please, let me know.
Thank you for visiting the site. I hope you find something here that helps you in the development of leadership practices for yourself and your organization.
Question: How did you first hear about servant leadership?
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I first heard of SL while working on my doctorate in organizational leadership. I was surprised that my previous university had never mentioned it, for they are a Wesleyan college. I had first experienced it in a three-day movement, when we, in similar fashion to Christ, washed each others’ hands. I have utilized SL the past six years at the local VA hospital, and was pleased to see that with the measure I used it, others also adopted the style. I wasn’t in a leadership position, but had been a leader in the military, so naturally felt the pull from above to be as He who died for me. I am in the midst of completing my dissertation proposal on SL in the federal sector of healthcare (aka VA), and firmly believe, as you do, that SL can cure “low morale, high turnover, and limited sustainability”. I only wish the local VA had heeded my warnings as to their toxic leadership, then perhaps they wouldn’t be one of 70 requiring re-inspection due to waiting-time anomalies…I congratulate you, Ben, for carrying the torch of SL, and for sharing how you arrived here!