Welcome to our interview with Marcel Schwantes, the founder of Leadership from the Core. Marcel is a leading expert in helping companies develop exceptional servant leadership cultures. He is an entrepreneur, executive coach, keynote speaker and syndicated columnist.
Welcome to this forum Marcel and thank you for contributing your insights and wisdom to the Forward Thinking Workplaces 2.0 conversation.
How can we create workplaces where every voice matters, everyone thrives and finds meaning, and change and innovation happen naturally?
Marcel: You know that’s a loaded question because it implies that you have the right people in the right leadership spot. I think it was John Maxwell who said “everything starts and ends with leadership.” So I have to point at the people you have within your organization that are making decisions and question whether those people are human-centered leaders.
I won’t even call them servant leaders yet. I’m going to call them human-centered leaders who have a natural understanding of what it takes for humans to succeed. Human-centered leaders who tap into human emotions and understand what behaviors drive high performance. That solves the culture question and everything else you mentioned in your question.
When you tap into the human potential, people are going to go above and beyond. They are going to be more creative and innovative when they feel psychological safety and valued intrinsically. That’s what happens when you have human motivation. People just give their best. When you remove fear from the workplace, you set up those kinds of work environments that lead to all the things you just said in your question.
How do we get an employee’s full attention and best performance?
Marcel: I think every answer I give will be biased based on my working philosophy of leading by valuing the human. Valuing them not only as employees but also as a people. There’s always a person before they’re an employee. To me it always starts with building the relationship because when you do that, you show people that you value them as an individual and show that you care.
This philosophy is also consistent with the research on servant leadership. The research says that when you meet the needs of others, it empowers them to scale mountains, which addresses the business outcome question. Sure you want reasonable relationships, but not at the expense of results. When you do that, you get both.
Note: This is a preview of the full interview. The complete interview was selected by Apress for publication and continues in The Future of the Workplace.