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View Diary: The Crisis in American Leadership (Part One) (46 comments)

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  •  we lack an ethos if Servant Leadership in our (10+ / 0-)

    culture. We have "might makes right" leadership. We promote bullies and self-serving people all the time, in all facets of society. We worship at the altar of the personal accumulation.

    This is why money talks rather than people.

    We really need to start teaching and promoting the practice of Servant Leadership:

    The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."

    "The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?

    Please note that this concept was not fleshed out by a spiritual leader or a philanthropist. Robert Greenleaf was a successful AT&T executive

    Just before his retirement as Director of Management Research at AT&T, he held a joint appointment as visiting lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and the Harvard Business School.

    He wrote about what made a good leader, both individually and as institutions, in his retirement:

    When Greenleaf retired from AT&T in 1964, he launched a new career as speaker, writer, and consultant. Greenleaf coined the term "Servant Leadership," and wrote and spoke extensively on the subject. In 1970 he published "The Servant as Leader," an essay which launched the servant leadership movement in the United States.

    This country would be well-served to absorb his ideas and practice them.

    •  There's much to be said on the concept (4+ / 0-)

      The idea of the servant leader is a powerful one and there's much to be said on the topic.  In my somewhat limited experience, the servant leader emerges as we begin to care deeply about not only the organization in which we serve but also the people comprise the organization.

      •  and the people whom the organization serves and (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome, bablhous, koNko

        lives amongst.

        " This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions - often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them."

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