I I was recently rereading materials on the essential characteristics of a Servant Leader and was challenged by a descriptive paragraph by Larry Spears in a 2010 article on the subject of Servant Leadership. Spears tell us that Servant Leaders should nurture our abilities to “dream great dreams” while managing not to lose sight of the day to day.
Why is questioning first a fundamental behavior of great leaders and specifically Servant Leaders?
Robert Greenleaf in his essay The Servant as Leader tells us that when the usual leader is faced with a problem or issue, the usual leader reacts by looking for someplace or someone to blame. Once blame or responsibility is assigned, the leader can then direct the problem to be fixed. Sometimes the leader’s ego and position of power and influence may even require that the leader provide a “map to recovery.”
Greenleaf suggests the better response...
I just spent the last hour reviewing an outline for a lunch and learn presentation I have been working. It was fun. I had done the preliminary work before the holidays and put it aside as I have no firm deadline. I do not know when I will have the opportunity to present it. It is simply a topic of passion. It addresses the question ‘What value comes from formalizing your values?’
Transformation is a word that I have been hearing and thinking about in terms of my personal growth. This is to be expected. With the New Year, I like many people am looking at where I am and where I want to be in the future. I have been asking myself fundamental questions about my journey and my path forward.
I have written recently that I am working through many hard things revolving around my personal perspective and personal growth. That is where my head, heart and hands are living today. That does not mean that I cannot be equally living in the land of magic, enchantment, faith and hope. Gratefully, I have a three year old grandson who sees the world with eyes of profound wonderment. What a gift.
What I am focusing on today is the opportunity that is just under the surface in every challenge. Reframing adversity to opportunity doesn’t make challenging situations easier. It does not change the reality of the situation. It does not make confronting my role in creating the challenge and adversity less difficult. It does give me a healthier perspective on the situation that allows me to focus on growth and learning. It does allow my faith to deepen and my vision to be clarified. I can continue to move forward and work toward solutions.
After leaving my last job, people would ask me, “So what are you going to now?” First, I assumed I would be doing the same thing I had been doing just someplace different. Second, when I listened to myself answer the question, I used professional jargon with all the right words and phrases. I sounded tiresome even to myself.
Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to work with many leaders as they transition into new assignments either by promotion or by being hired from the outside. In the not so distant past, I worked with a leader who was brought on board with a company to “fix” a department that was broken.