Consider Gentle Reader that the servant-leader is. . .
Concerned with certain Disciplines. In previous entries I offered some of my thinking about what I continue to perceive as some of the disciplines that seem to benefit the servant, whether leader or led. As a reminder, here are the disciplines: Being Present, Reflection, Listening Intently & Receptively, Framing Effective Questions, Framing ‘Aching Questions,’ & Balancing ‘Being Faithful’ with ‘Being Effective.’
Concerned with Being Authentic. If one ‘googles’ the question: ‘What does it mean to be authentic?’ a legion of ‘hits’ surfaces. I prefer to keep it simple (hopefully, not simplistic). Being Authentic means that there is close alignment between what we ‘espouse’ and what we ‘live.’ We are not perfect and so there will always be a ‘gap’ between the two. One of my challenges is to become aware of the gap and then to commit to closing the gap a bit. Given this, being authentic, is not directly related to being moral or ethical or friendly, or caring or. . . One can espouse that he or she is untrustworthy and live in a way that affirms his or her not being trustworthy and this person will be living ‘authentically.’ I am thinking of a Senior Executive who was an angry, critical and verbally intimidating AND he knew it and he lived it (being this way generally got him what he wanted); it seems to me that he was being authentic. Organizations are not being authentic when they espouse that ‘our employees are our most important asset’ and then they ‘use them up’ (they call it ‘getting more with less’).
Concerned with consciously making Essential Life Agreements. We all make agreements; some of them are even essential to who I am and to who I am choosing to become. Traditionally the agreement between the organization and the ’employee’ has been called the ‘social contract’ or the ‘psychological contract’ — I remember one owner who spoke of it as a ‘moral contract’ (talk about upping the ante!). I insert the word ‘Life’ because not only are these agreements ‘essential’ they are the ones I will, to the best of my ability, honor during my life-time. During these past 52+ years I have helped a variety of folks discern the agreements that they have made and then have explored with them the value of affirming them, of keeping them, of enhancing them, or of letting them go (and replacing them). Here are four such agreements that four different servant-leaders discerned and affirmed [in no particular order]: Speak rooted in integrity, Listen with undefended receptivity, Inquire from a place of trust & ‘not knowing,’ & Act from a core of deep love.
Concerned with the Difficult Things servant-leaders need to do. O.K. I get it — there are many difficult things that leaders are faced with so what’s the deal here? Well, allow me, Gentle Reader, to share a few examples and perhaps this will help. These are five difficult things that five different leaders have shared with me. For other leaders some or even all of these will not be ‘difficult’ — for these five, however, the following were. Here are the five [again, in no particular order]: Return love for hate, Include the excluded, Admit that ‘I’ am wrong — seek forgiveness, Offer forgiveness & seek healing, Be vulnerable (i.e. be transparent, take risks and ‘carry the wound gracefully’) [Note: You might remember, gentle reader, that ‘vulnerable’ comes from the Latin root ‘vulnus’ and ‘vulnus’ means ‘to carry the wound gracefully’]. So, Gentle Reader, what are the ‘difficult things’ you need to do or do more consistently?