Art Barter, who founded the Servant Leadership Institute and is the CEO of Datron World Communications, began his journey when he wanted to infuse Datron with servant leadership principles but couldn’t find adequate materials. Today, everyone at Datron gets trained on servant leadership principles.
During this #WorkTrends, we discussed the core of servant leadership and how it is all about motives. What Art told us is that Datron’s servant leadership definition is “to inspire and equip those we influence. To inspire people”, Art says, “you have to care about them.” Art pointed out that even power is different in servant leadership because it is shared.
“As CEO, I know I need to serve everyone in the organization, and I imagine inverting the orginational chart to remind myself of that.”
Another great piece of wisdom that Art told us was that the most important thing you can do is give your employees a vehicle to live your organization’s purpose. We discussed the qualities Art looks for in new talent. He said he’s learned not to look for competence first, but for character.
“We spend more time looking at the character of a leader,” he said. “If a leader comes in talking about themselves rather than the people who will be working for them, that’s a sign.”
We think that makes for a pretty great organization. Thanks, Art, for this perspective on servant leadership.
Here are a few key points Art shared:
- People are looking for purpose in their lives
- Confidence level in our businesses and government is historically low, according to Gallup
- Change doesn’t happen through words; it happens through leadership actions
- When you turn an organizational chart upside down, the CEO sees all the people he or she has to serve
- Hire for character first, competence second
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