Stewardship: The “S” in the L.E.A.D.E.R.S. Model

We’ve now reached the final letter in the L.E.A.D.E.R.S Model: S for Stewardship.  In my previous blogs I’ve shared the meaning of L for Leadership; E for Ethics; A for Alignment; D for Decision Making; E for Engagement; and R for Resilience.  I trust you have found each component of my model helpful and that you have applied these in your work and life.

I’ll be discussing another important dimension of the L.E.A.D.E.R.S. Model in future blogs: The elements of S.I.C.  S.I.C. represents Service, Inclusion, and Communication.  Together these three attitudes and behaviors are foundational to the successful and complete implementation of the L.E.A.D.E.R.S.  Stay tuned for more on S.I.C.  For now, please read what follows and see why Stewardship is so important to effective leadership.

  1. Leaders understand they have a responsibility to leave a positive legacy for the leaders who follow them.


  1. Leaders have the attitude that the organization for which they work, along with its vision and mission, are entrusted to them as a loan. Thus they act as stewards and not owners, seeking to leave the organization and the world around it in a better place than when they first received it.


  1. Stewardship involves more than the financials, and includes a charge and responsibility to care for people, the greater community in which the organization functions, and the world at large.


Fundamentally, leaders as stewards are concerned about the health and happiness of their organization and the people who work there.  Stewardship of financial assets are part of the leader’s responsibility inasmuch as fiscal viability is necessary for the fulfillment of the organization’s vision and mission. The pursuit of financial health, however, does not trump the welfare of people in the process.  Leaders who get caught up in the race to make money at the expense of those who produce such profits are not stewards.

Leaders as stewards know their position is transitory in nature.  They view the organization as on loan to them and that after they are gone the organization goes on.  Thus, they commit themselves to make sure the organization is in better shape when they leave than when they assumed the responsibility of being its steward.

In addition, leaders as stewards know their organization does not exist in a vacuum. They are neighbors in a local community in which their business functions. As an individual would be expected to be a good neighbor, organizations are expected to do the same. This is not only an obligation; it also often makes good business sense. A healthy community contributes to the health of that organization’s local operation, and the wise company invests in the health of the community as a means of enhancing its own health.

Dr. James Dittmar is the Founder, President, and CEO of the 3Rivers Leadership Institute which began in 2014.DittmarJimSquare02  Prior to this Jim founded the Geneva College M.S. in Organizational Leadership Program in 1995 and served as Chair of the Department of Leadership Studies and Director of the M.S. in Organizational Leadership Program until 2015. Should you have any questions, comments or feedback, please contact him at


2 thoughts on “Stewardship: The “S” in the L.E.A.D.E.R.S. Model

  1. Of all that is entrusted to a leader to steward, the nurturing of each individual in his or her care is the most critical. It is an awesome responsibility. Those in our charge are vulnerable to what we do or to what we do not do. Do they know what good looks like? Do they have the tools/training to excel? Do they receive timely feedback?

    Helping others to succeed and seeing how their success positively impacts the organization makes the daily work of stewardship so worth the effort!

    Thank you Dr. Dittmar for sharing your L.E.A.D.E.R.S. Model.

    Sandra Shaw


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