Gentle Reader, consider that a servant-leader is. . .
Concerned with Consciousness, Character, & Conduct. Consciousness = being awake and aware, intentional and purposeful, being fully present — now. Being conscious also means that one follows Socrates’ advice: To know thyself — to know one’s virtues and vices, to know the deep assumptions that often determine what one chooses, to know one’s core values and guiding life-principles, to know what motivates one, and to know why one chooses what one chooses (or to become aware of these ‘whys’ upon reflection). What enables you to be conscious and what hinders your desire or ability to be conscious? Character = What sort of person should ‘I’ be? What sort of person am I choosing to become? What are my deep core assumptions and why do I continue to hold these? What are my core values and guiding life-principles and why do I continue to hold these? What are my ‘favorite’ virtues and vices and why do I continue to nurture and sustain these? Conduct = What do I habitually choose to do and think? Aristotle reminds us that our habitual behavior is rooted in our habits of thought. What is the effect of my conduct upon myself and upon the other(s)? What is the ‘affect’ of my conduct upon myself and upon the other(s)? For example, am I and are you more fearful as a result? Am I and are you more at peace as a result? What do I project upon the other(s)? For example, do I project that they are not trustworthy?
Concerned with how we nurture and deplete our P.I.E.S. Greenleaf provides us with a ‘growth concept’ and so it is crucial for the servant-leader to become awake and aware and intentional and purposeful when it comes to how he or she nurtures and depletes the four dimensions of self: Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Spirit(ual). We each have developed our favorite ways of nurturing these dimensions and we each have developed our favorite ways of depleting them. Each dimension impacts the other three. My current thinking is that we each have a ‘favorite’ dimension that dramatically affects the other three; for me, it is my Spiritual dimension. I also know a person whose Physical dimension dramatically affects the other three.
Concerned with the metaphors we use for they powerfully determine the path(s) we choose. Our culture was, for years, rooted in an agricultural metaphor. This was displaced with an industrial and mechanical metaphor — and this metaphor is still operative today in many organizations. Our current cultural metaphor is a banking metaphor (e.g. people are assets, investments, commodities and resources) and we are beginning to integrate a technology metaphor. We have also wedded together two other metaphors so that they are interchangeable. One is a sports metaphor and the other is a war metaphor. Beginning with the first Gulf War our generals began to debrief the public using a sports metaphor (and most of us knew what they were talking about) and frequently coaches use war metaphors to describe the game to both participants and to viewers (and, again, most of us know what they are talking about). Greenleaf used an organic metaphor (human beings grow and develop and must be cared for and the same is true for organizations) in his ‘Best Test’ and in his ‘Credo.’ In organizations conflict occurs when metaphors don’t align. For example, an individual might use an organic metaphor, his or her supervisor might use a mechanical metaphor and the organizational culture might be well be rooted in a banking metaphor. Thus, a concept like ‘health’ will be interpreted differently by each and might well lead to conflict. Spending time discerning the metaphors we use might serve us well — at minimum this understanding will provide us the ability to consciously choose whether to retain them or change them.