Guest Blogger: William R. Mansfield, Founder, Mansfield Institute for Public Policy and Social Change, Inc.
The Just Third Way — any culture, in fact, that includes capital ownership as an essential element of the system — is such a complete shift from today’s pervasive “Jobs-Jobs-Jobs” mentality that training the new type of servant leader needed is critical to “making tomorrow’s future.” This is all the more necessary when we consider that tomorrow’s leaders will have the primary responsibility for teaching their fellow worker-owners how to be the best persons, and best members of the team at the same time, to say nothing of using their ownership responsibly.
|Leadership means teamwork, not dictatorship.|
This means that today’s leaders have a personal and a social obligation to “pay it forward” by training and mentoring tomorrow’s leaders today to deal with the challenges represented by a rapidly changing world, especially institutions. And not only leaders, but every member of the team must learn to deal with the new paradigm, if only because it’s difficult to be a servant leader if there is no one to serve.
The question then becomes, How can today’s leaders best develop and keep young talent in an organization, whether future leaders, or current worker-owners and partners? Pay is not enough, as has been known for generations. Even mere ownership with all the rights of ownership aren’t enough if the owner feels alienated from his or her co-owners.
The answer is, With a mentoring program. Effective mentoring helps leaders develop today’s talent into tomorrow’s leaders. Companies that leverage the leadership and experience of senior workers who understand the new paradigm can develop and maintain the talent they have in-house at all levels of the organization.
|Mentoring matters . . . and it works.|
This is critical to the whole concept of servant leadership. Servant leadership is action, not position. A servant leader leads and encourages by showing people how to do something. A boss bosses and discourages by ordering a subordinate to do something.
Servant leaders have a vision and a plan and must inspire people around them to build a team that believes in and executes a plan, then carries it forward into the future. A boss just wants something done and will hire and fire people until the task is done, then start all over again when faced with a new task.
Although there are different types of servant leaders, all successful servant leaders share common characteristics that contribute towards their success. An effective servant leader knows his or her strengths and weaknesses, and is able to optimize all of them.
Servant leaders have a certain confidence about them, and are able to stay calm under pressure. They are able to control their emotions so they can think clearly, take advice, and make the best decisions that will achieve goals and produce winning situations.
Servant leaders need to be flexible and know how and when to change to best meet each situation. The leader knows how to manage conflict and understand the political culture to achieve the best results.
Not surprisingly, servant leaders and mentors share many of the same qualities. If mentoring of the worker meets the agreed-upon goal, the mentor has to function as a servant leader during the process, and vice versa.
|Servant leadership and mentoring look a lot alike.|
It is as hard to be a mentor without being a servant leader, as it is to be a servant leader without being a mentor. An effective combination of servant leadership and mentoring helps fellow workers best.
. . . that is, it helps fellow workers best if — and only if — everyone in the company has the same opportunity and means to become an owner of the company along with everyone else.
If everyone does not have the same opportunity and means to become an owner of the company, all you’ve done is create a culture of conflict. In a culture of conflict, people don’t seek positions in which they can best serve the needs of themselves and others. Instead, they figure out ways in which they can have the most power over others.
And that is a far cry from a justice-based system in which the leader seeks to help others, not control them. When everyone pulls together, everyone benefits in direct proportion to the effort he or she puts out — and with everyone in the company working together to be happy and productive, knowing that he or she will benefit to the same degree as the effort, each individual and the company as a whole has the best chance of being a success.