Cornell’s new certificate program develops skills to lead with character

Servant leadership, a leadership philosophy where an individual shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform at a high level, has several distinct advantages over traditional leadership models. The University of Illinois at Chicago Business School recently conducted a study at national food chain Jason’s Deli. Among the surveyed restaurants, stores with servant leaders showed a 6 percent higher job performance, an 8 percent increase in positive customer service ratings, and a 50 percent higher staff retention rate.

Recognizing the powerful professional benefits servant leaders and their organizations experience, Cornell announces the new Servant Leadership certificate program to help learners develop into effective, successful leaders who demonstrate courage, humility, and compassion.

“Character is not something we have or don’t have,” says Amy Newman, faculty co-author and Senior Lecturer, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “Leaders can develop character over time. This certificate provides you with skills needed to improve judgement and demonstrate character to develop a culture of servant leadership.”

Informal or formal leaders at any level in a for-profit or not-for-profit organization, as well as anyone who exacts influence at work will find value in this certificate program, which is available online through eCornell.

Using case studies and examples, learners will explore seven dimensions of leadership associated with strong character. Through self-reflection exercises, assessments, and activities, they will begin the work of developing these character dimensions.

“Servant leaders genuinely listen to their employees and focus on their development,” says faculty co-author Judi Brownell, Professor, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “It’s truly a lifelong journey toward becoming the best leader you can be by fostering a culture of collaboration and service.”

Upon completion of the Servant Leadership certificate program, learners will understand how to develop trusting relationships through authenticity, integrity, and accountability, as well as how to implement performance management practices that reinforce service leadership.

Courses include:

  • Building Leadership Character
  • Authenticity, Integrity, and Accountability
  • Courage, Humility, and Compassion
  • Developing a Culture of Empowerment
  • Leading with Credibility

“Some incredibly successful companies, including Whole Foods, UPS, and Ritz Carlton, have implemented servant leadership,” says faculty co-author Tony Simons, Professor, Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. “The benefits of a service leadership culture are undeniable. It is critical, though, that the implementing company take the care and time to consistently align policies, practices, and leader behaviors with the new direction. Half measures do not work.”

Upon successful completion of all five courses, learners earn a Servant Leadership Certificate from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, 40 professional development hours, and 4 Continuing Education Units.