Servant Leadership is one of Alpha Kappa Psi’s founding principles because of its positive effects on culture in business and beyond. Practicing servant leadership means considering the needs of all company or organization personnel, not just a bottom line. Common characteristics of a servant leader include empathy, commitment to people’s growth, good listening, and community awareness. With the 2019 calendar year in the past, let’s look back and identify three of the best servant leaders we spotted in 2019.
Mat Ishiba, United Shore Mortgage
As an industry leader in wholesale mortgage lending, United Shore Mortgage knows the value of its employees. When Mat Ishiba took over as CEO in 2009, he fronted a massive hiring push for the company, and it has grown from less than 500 to over 4,700 employees in the past 10 years.
While the Michigan-based business is thriving, the employees haven’t sold out their ideals in the process. One of Ishiba’s primary focuses is the Firm 40, a workhours initiative that ensures equal amounts of hours in the office and encourages employees to relax and move away from work while at home. His appreciation and respect for the work/life balance of his employees is clear, and it has positively impacted the company’s success.
Vineet Jain, Egnyte
Egnyte has made a name for itself in the world of file sharing and security. The Silicon Valley-based company is touted as the only secure content platform that works exclusively for enterprise, giving full control to creative and IT teams in the pursuit for efficient cloud storage. This company, which ranks in the top three file sharing platforms according to Owler, has also gained a following for the way it treats its employees.
While Egnyte continues to grow in size, it has been recognized by Business Insider as a top five company for work/life balance, and a high ranking for happiest employees. Additionally, CEO Vineet Jain has been named one of the best leaders for minority workers. In a recent interview with Ladders, Jain said, “Your employees come first. If you have employees who feel valued, people who feel that there’s a career path, people who feel that they are respected, then they will be happy.”
Ben Valore-Caplan, Syntrinsic Investment Council
After making it in the world of finance, Ben Valore-Caplan found himself unsure of his next move. The year was 2008, and he had just left investment monster Lehman Brothers only days before its collapse amid the recession. He decided rather than jumping into another large financial company, he wanted to see a different future, one where employees – not just employers – had power.
He eventually started his own company, Syntrinsic Investment Council, as a 100 percent employee-owned business. He also created a holistic workplace culture through efforts such as financial support for leadership programs. In a recent interview with Conscious Company Media, Valore-Caplan said, “Make your leadership about unleashing others to do more good in the world. Managing can often be more about cultivation than control. Make good people even better. Make those around you more powerful. That’s easier if you’re doing something important. You can prove that values and business not only go together but thrive together.”
Acting as a servant leader creates a culture of giving, growth, and equal opportunity for employees and coworkers. Though these three leaders have instilled their own ideals for empathy, listening, and culture, the lessons they impart to employees inspires others to do the same. Whether you’re a CEO of a company or just getting started, you too can impact positive change by thinking of yourself as a servant leader in 2020.