The notion of servant leadership changed the landscape of work environments to one that’s more human-centered and compassionate. This approach emphasized putting others first and aspiring to lead through service rather than seeking power. Research has shown that organizations and individuals benefit from the trust, loyalty, and satisfaction that this leadership model brings.
However, even though it has worked for decades, it is beginning to crack at the seams as it has faced challenges and criticism.
Why it matters: In today’s fast-paced and demanding work environment, the traditional idea of servant leadership has often proven unsustainable. Leaders are facing rampant burnout, have busier schedules with increasing responsibilities, and utilize less hierarchical team structures than those of the past. These factors exemplify the need for a new model that offers a more purposeful leadership style that zones in on the influence that the organization’s work has on human beings: noble-purpose leadership.
- One way leaders can shift their lens towards noble-purpose leadership is to calibrate to their employee’s purpose and ask them what they need to be successful to complete the team’s goal and what help they think they will need to get in the process.
- Instead of making one’s primary focus to serve and please their employees, leaders should frame their decisions around purpose. For example, if you’re leading a team meeting you can ask your employees questions like “What impact will this have?” or “How will this affect our people or our customers?”
- A major function in a leader’s role is coaching their team; under the noble-purpose leadership framework, the recommendation is to focus on areas where your coaching time will have the biggest impact.