Servant Leadership can Bolster Profit, Mission

Servant Leadership can Bolster Profit, Mission

Ward Clapham says approach gets results by inspiring individual strengths, passions

Servant leadership has great potential for bolstering organizations to get results on both a mission and profit level, says servant leader advocate Ward Clapham.

Clapham, a 28-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and chief of the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Police Service for two years, says he believes it’s possible for organizations to blend profit-making and achieving a social mission.

A key way to excel at delivering on both is by tapping the unique talents, strengths and passions of people in the workplace, he says.

Servant leadership provides effective principles for doing this, according to Clapham, who notes that a defining quality of servant leaders, and core to their success, is that they listen with their whole being — not only their ears, but also their eyes and hearts.

“From that deep, empathic listening, concerns, problems, ideas will surface and trust will be built,” Clapham tells Axiom News, noting trust is a critical and often missing element in today's organizations.

Servant leaders also act on real, immediate gaps that surface through that dialogue, which demonstrates good will, he says.

They are also committed to working in partnership with others.

“People want to be included and involved,” says Clapham.

“They don’t want to be dictated to, and true servant (leaders) don’t shove their way down the throats of people. They create a trusting environment, an atmosphere where they can come together . . . (and create) solutions.”

Clapham calls the result of this collaboration the third alternative solution, the “fruit” of synergies amongst team members and leaders.

He adds that the fundamental principles around change management are all about including people and can be summarized as follows: involve people, inform people, respect customs, move slowly and keep communicating and checking in with people.

Embedding these and other core servant leader principles into the DNA of an organization and its people is a matter of commitment, of making them a habit, according to Clapham.

He says a daily meeting during his tenure as RCMP officer created the space to help make that happen, pointing out that both in word and action he strove daily to ensure the approach was used as a preferred and effective way of being and acting.

Clapham is now pursuing a consulting practice full-time to bring his methodology and processes to a wider audience.

To learn more, visit this site.

Related stories:

One of Canada's Top Cops Finds Servant Leadership a Powerful Change Tool

Servant Leadership Unleashes Talent, Passion

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Michelle Strutzenberger

Michelle Strutzenberger has been a Generative Journalist and curator with Axiom News for more than 15 years.

She's most grateful for the incredible people she gets to work with every day at Axiom News, as well as the many other amazing folks she's encountered through this work.

"I have always seen the opportunity to do this work as a gift," she says.

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