A new species of leaders emerged in recent years. They are out there. Are you one? Revolutionary change is brewing. A radical transformation germinated from the dead works of corporate fraud and political fat cats. Employees are tired, frustrated and fed up with many of the leaders of today. Distrust and resentment reigns. According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer, more people distrust in business because of economic and social inequalities. People do not trust companies and it is becoming increasingly challenging to rebuild credibility.
Business, if not world leadership, is at a precipice. Will the old guard continue to dominate in their greedy, selfish, unethical manner? Or will employee and customers alike become even more restless, disengaged and maybe revolutionary in thought or action, and demand a wholesale leadership change?
A new species of leaders is arising. In nature, geneticists call this sympatric speciation. The professional DNA of these leaders is unique. It is not about profit, promotion, or political gain. It is about the need, and selfless service to do the right thing. Protect the planet. Feed the hungry. Heal the sick. Give jobs to the unemployed. Pay fairly. Help those in trouble. Coach. Lift up, do not leave behind. Share the wealth, do not hoard it.
Three People Who Define the New Species of Leaders
Price raised the pay to $70,000 minimum per employee at his 120-person company called Gravity Payments. Dan had always prided himself on treating people well. One day a few years ago, an employee told him, “You are ripping me off.” After hearing the person out and doing some soul searching, Dan cut his salary and raised the pay of employees. He is now a crusader against income inequality. Yahoo corporate executive Tammi Kroll quit her high paying job to work at Gravity because she said, “I spent many years chasing the money. Now I am look for something meaningful and fun.” Since Price implemented his plan sales growth and profits doubled. Therefore, his investment in people is paying off.
Mr. Demoulas is the beloved CEO of Market Basket, a grocery store chain of 70 locations and 25,000 employees in the NE United States. He was ousted as the organization’s leader a few years ago, by other members of his family who had more stock, prompting all the employees to protest and go on strike even though they had no union. Other owners wanted to close some stores, raise prices, reduce pay, and cut benefits to increase profitability. (Sound familiar?) Mr. Demoulas paid above industry average, as well as established a retirement fund that added 15% of annual pay each year for employees. He remembers employees’ names and their sick relatives and offers higher education stipends. After an eight-month battle, he purchased 50.5% of the stock to regain control and save the company. As a result, it is thriving and growing.
He is the 37-year-old CEO of worldwide clothing company H&M. His company is gearing their brands to looking healthy, not trendy, or skinny. They recently released a new plus-sized swimsuit line. He insists that he will allow only “sound and healthy” models. Persson’s goals are quality in the clothing line, safety, and financial stability for all employees. Consequently, he is changing his industry with cheaper quality fashion while having an ethical conscience of its impact on customers, employees, the community, and the world.
The New Species of Leaders: Pulling It All Together
In contrast, is Martin Shkreli a pharmaceutical executive. He drastically raised the price of a drug called Daraprim from $13.50 to $750. It is used to treat a disease fatal to H.I.V. patients. His antics caused a firestorm. He has been arrested but released and is battling Congress. Leaders like him focus only on bottom-lines, stock markets, or quarterly reports. They are aloof and elitist in their views of other people.
In conclusion, this new species of leaders calibrates their behavior by noble values that are in sharp contrast to the status quo. Their personal DNA is measured by their servant focus, genuine caring for others (employees, the community, and customers alike) and integrity to contribute to making the world a better place. If you are an employee, voice your opinion. If you are a leader, embrace the change or resign.
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