It is quite a privilege to analyze a leader I have no fear or reservation following. To be nearing the end of my third full decade of professional life, it has been both the unqualified and unethical managers who remind me that a career requires survival skill and dumb luck. Thankfully, leadership, discipline, and service will be unmistakable themes in my attempt to categorize my present leader. Even as I gladly look past the transgressions of much earlier encountered bad actors.
So I will begin with mention of the steward or servant leader, either one will suffice, and the defining qualities of empathy, kindness, honest, humility, and respect for others (Lussier & Achua, 2012). This concept of leadership will describe a transactional motivator who exercises his authority without promoting his personal interests or advantage. I have had the sincere honor to know this man for a considerable time. I have him to thank for many of the opportunities I have to lead. Yet, I take this occasion to write objectively and without reservation on a champion of servant leadership. According to Robert Greenleaf, a true servant leader can be defined in ten principles:
Listening - Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are communicating.
Empathy - People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. One must assume the good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even when forced to reject their behavior or performance.
Healing - One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one's self and others.
Awareness - Especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness can be scary--one never knows that one may discover!
Persuasion - Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership.
Foresight - a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future.
Stewardship - How CEO's, staff, directors, and trustees all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust for the great good of society.
Commitment to the Growth of People - Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value and are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.
Building Community - Servant-leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work within a given institution (Greenleaf, n.d).
I remind myself frequently of how fragile the framework of leadership really is. In essence,...