Another Look at “The Most Important Stakeholders”


By far the most popular article from this blog has been The Most Important Stakeholders (posted November 11, 2011). It remains the most popular article year after year. Views for that article have more than tripled the second most popular article, 7 Ways to Influence Directly, and are almost more than the combined total views for that and the next two most popular posts: Disruptive Leadership and Avoiding Core Rigidities. Obviously, “Stakeholders” has resonated with readers here. In fact, its popularity has increased year-to-year since it was first posted. I think it’s time to revisit the message in that post and build on it.

In the original “Stakeholders” post, I argued that the most important stakeholders in your organization are the employees. Not the customers. Not the owners, shareholders, or investors. Not the senior executives. Not the community or supply chain ecosystem. Why are the employees the most important stakeholders? Read the article for my rationale. I think you’ll find, like thousands of others readers, that I have a compelling argument.

That article was posted more than four years ago and it continues to grow in popularity. So I think it is time to return to the argument and build on it. I’ve already stated to a number of people that in 2016 I’m going to redouble my efforts in people development. If the employees are the most important stakeholders, then people development is one of the most strategic activities of leadership.

In 2016, I’m going to explore leadership strategies that focus on building others. These will be strategies that do three things. They will help you, as a leader, to help others:

  1. Discover their God-given talents and design,
  2. Discern how to be good stewards of their talents and design at work, home, and community, and
  3. Develop strategies to put that into place.

Certainly, I’ll be writing about other topics, too. My main focus, though, will be on strategic leadership designed to develop and build others in the organization. The result of such leadership is an organization that has stronger, more capable people. They are more self-aware, more loyal to the organization, and more effective in their work. Leadership that produces that kind of employee is indeed strategic.

To get started, a preview of my first series of posts in 2016 is that I’ll be focusing on one model of “leadership styles.” Have you ever thought about your style of leadership? Probably. In an informal fashion, you’ve probably noted how your approach to leading is similar to and different from other leaders.

Have you considered, though, what style of leadership your employees need? Probably not. It’s the rare leader who takes time to consider what specific employees need in specific circumstances.

In my first series of posts in 2016, I’m going to unpack a specific model of leadership styles that is easy to understand and put to use. It is also easy to share with your team and discuss. You’ll be able to openly talk about what is needed at different times to maximize results and minimize confusion, frustration, and miscommunication.

I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2016. I sense great things on the horizon and I look forward to hearing from you about your leadership journey!

Dr. Scott Yorkovich is a leadership coach and consultant. He works with individuals, small and medium organizations, and ministries. Contact him at ScottYorkovich[at] with your questions.

Photo by Minnesota Department of Transportation. Retrieved from

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