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humility and serving

Servant leadership is a form of leadership, or a philosophy, in which CEOs view themselves in service to those below them. Instead of viewing their perch as power or a way to control people and outcomes, servant leaders views their position as an opportunity to serve and grow their employees and organization.

In 2017, both Glassdoor and Comparably reported Sameer Dholakia, CEO of SendGrid, as the most highly rated tech CEO. Forbes subsequently brought attention to the CEO by writing about his servant leadership style:

‘Being a servant CEO means inverting the traditional organizational chart and putting the CEO at the bottom, he says. He acknowledges his job is difficult, “but the folks doing the hard rowing of the business are not the CEO … I don’t have to take a phone call from a customer who’s upset about a bug. I don’t have a sales quota.” He thinks a leader’s primary job is to empower others.’

Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, is also a servant leader. Nadella is known for valuing culture and truly empowering employees by saying: “Make it happen. You have full authority.” He is often looking for ways that others can win.

He writes in his book Hit RefreshThe Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone: “It’s about questioning ourselves each day.”

The questioning of self and of the company helps one to remain humble. It opens the door to possibility and steers clear of ego, which can get in the way of true problem-solving.