Entrepreneurship: serving the world (part 2)
By Lydia Scott.
I find myself asking, what does servant leadership authentically look like in the entrepreneurial sphere I find myself passionate about? I’m still early on into figuring this out. But here are three of my ponderings on how the current mechanisms of economics and business can have servant leadership at their core:
- Servant leadership is values driven business. It is when business understands its role in the wider world and makes decisions in light of that. It’s when business ‘loves thy neighbour’. Business is made up of people after all, why do we think it is exempt from acting like one? There are a few buzz words emerging around this e.g. BCorps, shared value, triple bottom lines, social enterprise, profit for purpose, social procurement etc. Yes, these things should be celebrated but more than that, they should be encouraged until they become the status quo. These terms shouldn’t be a point of difference anymore. The day when this is assumed of business and we are shocked when a business makes a self-serving decision will be the day servant leadership is embedded at the core of capitalism.
- Servant leadership is in how you manage your team. To grow a vision, every entrepreneur has to grow a team. It would be arrogant to acknowledge an impactful business is single handedly built by one person. Servant leadership is recognising and celebrating the hard work of your team, it’s putting their needs before your own self-glorification. My boss, whom I very much admire once told me, ‘when on-boarding a new staff member the first thing you ask is what they want to be on their resume by the time they leave the role.’ And then you spend their tenure serving them to a place of achieving that. I love that.
- Servant leadership is starting a business in the first place because of the way it will serve and improve the wider world. In my job at the Club Kidpreneur Foundation we run a program challenging kids to identify a problem in the world around them and then come up with a product that will help solve it, backed by a sustainable business model. If the next generation can grow up with a perspective of business like that, then our world will be in the trustworthy hands of servant leaders.
This is servant leadership to me. It’s taking an everyday thing like entrepreneurship and asking how it can be used to live a life of service, motivated by love. I’d like to think that it is possible.
Photo by N.Reese