LEADERSHIP & An Overview of Max DePree’s book “Leadership Is An Art”

by ViaDialogue, 9/5/2005.

Max DePree. Leadership Is An Art. Dell Trade Paperback, 1989.

… The art of leadership, as Max says, is “liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible.” To do this effectively requires clear thinking about their own beliefs: They must have thought through their assumptions about human nature, the role of the organization, the measurement of performance (and the host of other issues…) (xx)

In short, the true leader is a listener. The leader listens to the ideas, needs, aspirations, and wishes of the followers and then — within the context of his or her own well-developed system of beliefs — responds to these in an appropriate fashion. That is why the leader must know his own mind. That is why leadership requires ideas. And that is what this book is: a compendium of ideas about organizational leadership. (xxi)

INTRODUCTION

The book is about the art of leadership: liberating people to do what is required of them in the most effective and humane way possible. (1)

…Charles Eames taught me the usefulness of repetition. I often repeat myself, by design, to establish something and then connect it to something else. (3)

Leadership is an art, something to be learned over time, not simply by reading books. Leadership is more tribal than scientific, more a weaving of relationships than an amassing of information, and, in that sense, I don’t know how to pin it down in every detail. (3)…

THE MILWRIGHT DIED

…it is fundamental that leaders endorse a concept of persons. This begins with an understanding of the diversity of people’s gifts and talents and skills. Understanding and accepting diversity enables us to see that each of us is needed. (39) It also helps us to understand that for many of us there is a fundamental difference between goals and rewards. (10)

WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader. (11)

“Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.” (11)

The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict? (12)

… People are the heart and spirit of all that counts. (13)

Leaders need to be concerned with the institutional value system which, after all, leads to the principles and standards that guide the practices of the people in the institution. (14)

Leaders owe a covenant to the corporation or institution, which is, after all, a group of people. Leaders owe the organization a new reference point for what caring, purposeful, committed people can be in the institutional setting. Notice I did not say what people can do — what we can do is merely a consequence of what we can be. (15)…

Leaders are obligated to provide and maintain momentum. (17)

Leaders are responsible for effectiveness. …efficiency is doing the thing right, but effectiveness is doing the right thing. …effectiveness comes about through enabling others to reach their potential… (19)

A leader must be a judge of people. For leaders choose a person, not a position. (20)

Leaders must take a role in developing, expressing, and defending civility and values. (21)

PARTICIPATIVE PREMISES

What is it most of us really want from work? …to find the most effective, most productive, most rewarding way of working together. …to know that our work process uses all of the appropriate and pertinent resources: human, physical, financial …a work process and relationships that meet our personal needs for belonging, for contributing, for meaningful work, for the opportunity to make a commitment, for the opportunity to grow and be at least reasonably in control of our own destinies. Finally we’d like someone to say “Thank you!” (23)

I believe that the most effective contemporary management process is participative management. (24) Participative management guarantees that decisions will not be arbitrary, secret, or closed to questioning. participative management is not democratic. Having a say differs from having a vote. (25)

Leaders need to foster environments and work processes within which people can develop high-quality relationships… (25)

  • Respect people.
  • Understand that what we believe precedes policy and practice. As practice is to policy, so style is to belief.
  • Agree on the rights of work.
  • Understand the respective role and relationship of contractual agreements and covenants. Volunteers do not need contracts, they need covanants.
  • Understand that relationships count more than structure.

Finally, one question: Would you rather work as a part of an outstanding group or be a part of a group of outstanding individuals? This may be the key question in thinking about the premises behind participation. (29)…

ROVING LEADERSHIP

Roving leaders are those indispensable people in our lives who are there when we need them. Roving leaders take charge, in varying degrees, in a lot of companies every day. (48)

In many organizations there are two kinds of leaders — both hierarchical leaders and roving leaders. In special situations, the hierarchical leader is obliged to identify the roving leader, then to support and follow him or her, and also to exhibit the grace that enables the roving leader to lead. (49)

Roving leadership is an issue-oriented idea. Roving leadership is the expression of the ability of hierarchical leaders to permit others to share ownership of problems — in effect, to take possession of a situation. (49)

INTIMACY

Intimacy is at the heart of competence. It has to do with understanding, with believing, and with practice. (53)

Beliefs are connected to intimacy. Beliefs come before policies or standards or practices. Practice without belief is a forlorn existence. Managers who have no beliefs but only understand methodology and quantification are modern-day eunuchs. (55)

Intimacy is betrayed by the inability of our leaders to focus and provide continuity and momentum. It is betrayed by finding complexity where simplicity ought to be. (56)

We do not grow by knowing all of the answers, but rather by living with the questions. (58)

Broadly speaking, there are two types of relationships in industry. The first and most easily understood is the contractual, …[which] covers the quid pro quo of working together. (58) Three of the key elements in the art of working together are how to deal with change, how to deal with conflict, and how to reach our potential.

A society based on the letter of the law and never reaching any higher, fails to take advantage of the full range of human possibilities. The letter of the law is too cold and formal to have a beneficial influence on society. Whenever the tissue of life is woven of legalistic relationships, this creates an atmosphere of spiritual mediocrity that paralyzes men’s noblest impulses. – Alexander Solzhenitsyn, speaking to the 1978 graduating class of Harvard College.

Covenantal relationships, on the other hand, induce freedom, not paralysis. A covenantal relationship rests on shared commitment to ideas, to issues, to values, to goals, and to management processes. Words such as love, warmth, personal chemistry are certainly pertinent. Covenantal relationships are open to influence. They fill deep needs and they enable work to have meaning and to be fulfilling. Covenantal relationships reflect unity and grace and poise. They are an expression of the sacred nature of relationships. (60)…

WHITHER CAPITALISM?

In our effort to understand the capitalist system and its future, what should we keep in mind? We should begin with a concept of persons. (63)

First, as a Christian, I believe each person is made in the image of God. (63) Second, God has given people a great diversity of gifts. (63) Third, for reasons that we may not always understand, God has provided us a population mix. … This concept of persons within the capitalist system holds important implications for everybody — Christian or not. (64)

Therefore, we reject exclusivity. We covet inclusiveness. (66)

An inclusive system requires us to be insiders. We are interdependent, really unable to be productive by ourselves. Interdependency requires lavish communications. Lavish communications and an exclusive process are contradictory.

One can define this inclusive approach in three ways.

First, there are always certain marks of being included:

  • being needed
  • being involved
  • being cared about as an individual
  • fair wages and benefits
  • having the opportunity to do one’s best (Only leaders willing to take risks can give this opportunity.)
  • having the opportunity to understand
  • having a piece of the action — productivity gains, profit sharing, ownership appreciation, seniority bonus

Second, the inclusive approach makes me think of a corporation or business or institution as a place of fulfilled potential. … Leadership is a conidtion of indebtedness. Leaders who have an inclusive attitude think of  themselves as owing, at the very least, the following:

  • space: a gift to be what I can be
  • the opportunity to serve
  • the gift of challenge: we don’t grow unless we’re tested (constraints, like facts, are enabling friends)
  • the gift of meaning: not superfluous, but worthy; not superficial, but integral; not disposable, but permanent

Finally, here is a third way to understand and define an inclusive approach. Inclusive capitalism requires something from everyone. People must respond actively to inclusiveness. Naturally, there is a cost to belonging.

  • Being faithful is more important than being successful. If we are successful in the world’s eyes but unfaithful in terms of what we believe, then we fail in our efforts at insidership.
  • Corporations can and should have a redemptive purpose. We need to weigh the pragmatic in the clarifying light of the moral. We must understand that reaching our potential is more important than reaching our goals.
  • We need to become vulnerable to each other. We owe each other the chance to reach our potential.
  • Belonging requires us to be willing and ready to risk. Risk is like change; it’s not a choice.
  • Belonging requires intimacy. Being an insider is not a spectator sport. It means adding value. It means being fully and personally accountable. It means forgoing superficiality.
  • Last, we need to be learners together. The steady process of becoming goes on in most of us throughout our lifetime. We need to be searching for maturity, openness, and sensitivity.

GIANT TALES

Giants see opportunity where others see trouble.

Giants give others the gift of space, space in both the personal and the corporate sense, space to be what one can be.

Giants catch fastballs.

Giants have special gifts.

Giants enable others to express their own gifts.

TRIBAL STORYTELLING

The penalty for failing to listen is to lose one’s history, one’s historical context, one’s binding values. (82)

Herman Miller’s stock of values is an example of the continuity I’m talking about.

  • We are a research-driven product company.
  • We intend to make a contribution to society.
  • We are dedicated to quality.
  • We must become, for all who are involved, a place of realized potential. Herman Miller population must be a reflection of God’s diversity, not of our choices. We are committed to a high sense of initiative in doing everything we can to make capitalism an inclusive system of relationships, not an exclusive structure of barriers.
  • We are committed to using responsibly our environment and our finite resources.
  • We commit voluntarily our energy and talent, as well as our financial resources, to those agencies and institutions whose purpose is the common good.
  • It is essential to us that we preserve our future economically. Profit, like breathing, is indispensable.
  • We at Herman Miller acknowledge that issues of the heart and spirit matter to each of us.
  • We are deeply committed to the Scanlon idea. [TIME]

Tribal storytellers, the tribe’s elders, must insistently work at the process of corporate renewal. They must preserve and revitalize the values of the tribe. (91)

WHO OWNS THIS PLACE?

Love is an undefinalbe term, and its manifestations are both subtle and infinite. – Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership.

The capitalist system cannot avoid being better off by having more employees who act as if they own the place. (100)

COMMUNICATE!

The best way to communicate the basis of a corporation’s or institution’s common bods and values is through behavior. (101)

What is good communication? What does it accomplish? It is a prerequisite for teaching and learning. It is the way people can bridge the gaps. … Communication clarifies the vision. … Good communication is not simply sending and receiving. Nor is good communication simply a mechanical exchange of data. No matter how good the communication, if no one listens all is lost. The best communication forces you to listen. (102)

Among a leader’s most trusted and familiar tools are communication skills. (104)

…muddy language usually means muddy thinking… (105)

Communication performs two functions, described by two “action-prone” words: educate and liberate.

A corporation’s values are its life’s blood. Without effective communication, actively practiced, without the art of scrutiny, those values will disappear in a sea of trivial memos and impertinent reports. There may be no single thing more important in our efforts to achieve meaningful work and fulfilling relationships than to learn and practice the art of communication. (108)

PINK ICE IN THE URINAL

“What is one of the most difficult things that you personally need to work on?” “The interception of entropy.” (110)

…leaders need to learn to recognize the signals of impending deterioration.

  • a tendency toward superficiality
  • a dark tension among key people
  • no longer having time for celebration and ritual
  • a growing feeling that rewards and goals are the same thing
  • when people stop telling tribal stories or cannot understand them
  • a recurring effort by some to convince others that business is, after all, quite simple (The acceptance of complexity and ambiguity and the ability to deal with them constructively are essential.)
  • when people begin to have different understandings of words like “responsibility” or “service” or “trust”
  • when problem-makers outnumber problem-solvers
  • when folks confuse heroes and celebrities
  • leaders who seek to control rather than liberate
  • when the pressures of day-to-day operations push aside our concern for vision and risk (I think you know that vision and risk can never be separated.)
  • an orientation toward the dry rules of business school rather than a value orientation that takes into account such things as contribution, spirit, excellence, beauty, and joy
  • when people speak of customers as impositions on their time rather than as opportunities to serve
  • manuals
  • a growing urge to quantify both history and one’s thoughts about the future (You may be familiar with people who take a look at a prototype and say, “In 1990 we’ll sell $6 million worth” — nothing is more devastating because then you plan either to make that happen or to avoid it.)
  • the urge to establish ratios
  • leaders who rely on structures instead of people
  • a loss of confidence in judgment, experience, and wisdom
  • a loss of grace and style and civility
  • a loss of respect for the English language

WHAT’S NEXT?

Leaders, in a special way, are liable for what happens in the future, rather than what is happening day to day. (114)

…it just is not possible for everybody to know everything and understand everything. The following is essential: We must trust one another to be accountable for our own assignments. When that kind of trust is present, it is a beautifully liberating thing. (116)

Mahatma Gandhi once wrote that there were seven sins in the world:

  1. wealth without work
  2. pleasure without conscience
  3. knowledge without character
  4. commerce without morality
  5. science without humanity
  6. worship without sacrifice
  7. politics without principle

SOME THOUGHTS FOR CEOS WHO BUILD BUILDINGS

Facilities can aspire to certain qualities as an expression of a civilization. (124)

Facilities should enable and empower people to do their best. (125)

We should make it our goal to create an environment that

  • encourages an open community and fortuitous encounter
  • welcomes all
  • is kind to the user
  • changes with grace
  • is person-scaled
  • is subservient to human activity
  • forgives mistakes in planning
  • enables this community (in the sense that an environment can) to reach continually toward its potential
  • is a contribution to the landscape as an aesthetic and human value
  • meets the needs we can perceive
  • is open to surprise
  • is comfortable with conflict
  • has flexibility, is non-precious and nonmonumental

TO MAKE ONE VICE PRESIDENT, MIX WELL…

A future leader

  • has consistent and dependable integrity
  • cherishes heterogeneity and diversity
  • searches out competence
  • is open to contrary opinion
  • communicates easily at all levels
  • understands the concept of equity and consistently advocates it
  • leads through serving
  • is vulnerable to the skills and talents of others
  • is intimate with the organization and its work
  • is able to see the broad picture (beyond his own area of focus)
  • is a spokesperson and diplomat
  • can be a tribal storyteller (an important way of transmitting our corporate culture)
  • tells why rather than how

Further observations

  • The only kind of leadership worth following is based on vision.
  • Personal character must be uppermost.
  • If we are going to ask a person to lead, can we determine ahead of time whether he or she has gaps between belief and practice, between work and family?
  • When talking about leadership, one always ends up talking about the future, about leaving a legacy, about followers. In other words, leadership intertwines the most important aspects of an organization: its people and its future. We need, therefore, to proceed very slowly and carefully.
  • When choosing officers, provide for possible failure and a graceful withdrawal. Promotion to officership should be decided in a group, with no slim majority. The process should include complete commitment and no reservations. After all, the way we move managers around, you may inherit a work team that you cannot, or will not want to lead.
  • What does the company physician say about the candidate?
  • What do the person’s peers have to say?
  • Would you seek out this person as a key resource on an important task force?

WHY SHOULD I WEEP?

Anyone in touch with reality in this world knows there are lots of reasons to weep. (135)

What do we weep over? What should we weep over?

  • superficiality
  • a lack of dignity
  • injustice, the flaws that prevents equity
  • great news!
  • tenderness
  • a word of thanks
  • separation
  • arrogance
  • betrayal of ideas, of principles, of quality
  • jargon, because it confuses rather than clarifies
  • looking at customers as interruptions
  • leaders who watch bottom lines without watching behavior
  • the inability of folks to tell the difference between heroes and celebrities
  • confusing pleasure with meaning
  • leaders who never say “Thank you
    having to work in a job where you are not free to do your best
  • good people trying to follow leaders who depend on politics and hierarchy rather than on trust and competence
  • people who are gifts to the spirit

THE MARKS OF ELEGANCE

A friend of mine described a colleague as great at running the “ninety-five-yard dash.” …serious runners think of it as a 110-yard-dash so that no one will beat you in the last few yards. That completes this idea nicely. Think beyond the whole. (143)

Elegant leaders always reach for completeness What are some of the marks of elegance? What should leaders be searching for in their efforts to liberate people of high potential?

A complete relationship needs a covenant. (144)

Intelligence and education can ascertain the facts. Wisdom can discover the truth. The life of a corporation needs both. (144)

To give one’s time doesn’t always mean giving one’s involvement. (144)

Hierarchy and equality are not mutually exclusive. Hierarchy provides connections. Equality makes hierarchy responsive and responsible. (145)

Without forgiveness there can be no real freedom to act within a group. (145)

Opportunity must always be connected to accountability. (145)

A whale is as unique as a cactus. But don’t ask a whale to survive Death Valley. We all have special gifts. Where we use them and how determines whether we actually complete something. (145)

Goals and rewards are only parts, different parts, of human activity. When rewards become our goals, we are only pursuing part of our work. Goals are to be pursued. In healthy relationships, rewards complete the process by bringing joy. Joy is an essential ingredient of leadership. Leaders are obligated to provide it. (145-6)

Read more at … https://vialogue.wordpress.com/2005/09/04/leadership-is-an-art-notes-review/

POWER & Tolkien’s guide to contemporary leadership.

by Peter Franklin, Unheard Magazine, 4/12/19.

… Unlike his friend C.S. Lewis, Tolkien was not fond of allegorical fiction. He had no time for the idea that the Ring – extremely dangerous but hard to get rid of – was an allegory of the atomic bomb. Rather, it was exactly what he said it was: an embodiment of power and the corrupting effects of power.

Tolkien shows us that the only people who can be trusted with great power are those who don’t really want it – or who do, but have the moral strength to reject it. Even then, it’s touch-and-go, the burden of responsibility taking a terrible toll on the reluctant bearer.

Numerous commentaries have been written on this aspect of the story – often summed up by the Lord Acton quote: “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Which is true enough. But Tolkien was onto a whole lot more than that…

Let’s begin at the beginning. The Ring was made at great cost to Sauron, its creator. He poured much of his own strength into an external object – one from which he could be separated, which in due course he was. So why take the risk? Sauron, though evil, was possessed of great cunning – why did he expose himself to such a vulnerability? Did old JRR just not think it through? Does the Ring actually represent a massive hole in the plot?

Not a bit of it. When you understand what Tolkien understood about the nature of power, it all makes perfect sense.

In a letter, he once wrote that the Ring was a “mythological way of presenting the truth that potency… if it is to be exercised, and produce results, has to be externalised and so as it were passed, to a greater or less degree, out of one’s direct control.” This is a crucial insight into the way Tolkien understood power to work.

Read more at … https://unherd.com/2019/04/what-tolkien-teaches-us-about-power/

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & Presidential Historian Says Forming a Guiding Coalition & Having Empathy Make For Great Leadership.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: When undertaking change the second step is to form a guiding coalition which includes people who are not in favor of the change. This guiding coalition will therefore be able to craft a plan that is amicable to both those pushing for change and those who are part of the status quo. This strategy (from Harvard professor John Kotter), is supported in a new book by noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Studying presidential history, she found the best presidential leaders had people who disagreed with them on their Cabinets, which gave the president a fuller perspective.

Doris Kearns Goodwin: Empathy Makes For Great Leadership

by John Baldoni, Forbes Magazine, 3/15/19.

In discussing her new book, Leadership in Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin has said that empathy is one of, if the not the best, attribute for leaders. Goodwin, a noted presidential historian, defines empathy as an ability to understand another’s point of view. That definition is correct as far as it goes, but when you dive more deeply empathy as defined by the psychological community is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another.

…When a leader can see beyond his own point of view, she demonstrates a more rounded worldview. Such leaders know that their opinion is not the only opinion. Empathetic leaders seek out alternate views. They push their staffs not to respond in the affirmative, but to be open to debate on critical issues.

So how can a leader demonstrate empathy?

Think of yourself as part of the community, not THE entire community. The leaders Kearns profiles were self-absorbed. They understood that people opposed them. None more than Abraham Lincoln. Not only did he govern when the nation was split, but he also peopled his Cabinet with individuals who opposed him. Why? Because he knew he needed their perspective as well as their ideas to help him restore the Union.

Read more at … https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2019/03/15/doris-kearns-goodwin-empathy-makes-for-great-leadership/#714081605747

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & Sinek’s concept of the “circle of safety” for employees from his book and TED Talk “Leaders Eat Last.”

Introduction by Michael Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 7/12/17; In Sinek’s Leaders Eat Last, he talks about the concept of the “circle of safety.” The world is filled with danger, things that are trying to frustrate our lives, reduce our success, or reduce our opportunity for success. The only variables, says Sinek in this TED Talk, are the conditions inside the organization, and that’s where leadership matters, because it’s the leader who sets the tone to make sure there’s trust and cooperation, and that employees’ needs are being met.

 

 

PETER ON LEADERSHIP & “I have a special concern for you church leaders…”

“I have a special concern for you church leaders. I know what it’s like to be a leader, in on Christ’s sufferings as well as the coming glory. Here’s my concern: that you care for God’s flock with all the diligence of a shepherd. Not because you have to, but because you want to please God. Not calculating what you can get out of it, but acting spontaneously. Not bossily telling others what to do, but tenderly showing them the way.

When God, who is the best shepherd of all, comes out in the open with his rule, he’ll see that you’ve done it right and commend you lavishly. And you who are younger must follow your leaders. But all of you, leaders and followers alike, are to be down to earth with each other, for— God has had it with the proud, But takes delight in just plain people.

So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.”

1 Peter‬ ‭5:1-7‬ ‭MSG‬‬
http://bible.com/97/1pe.5.1-7.msg

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & Jesus’ definition and His illustration.

“When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.””

Matthew‬ ‭20:24-28‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Read more at … http://bible.com/97/mat.20.24-28.msg

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & The 7 Pillars of Servant Leadership #Frick&Sipe #QuickIntroduction

by Michael Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 3/24/18.

In “Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership” authors Don Frick and James Sipe describe these helpful approaches:

  1. Listen without interruption, objections, or defensiveness.
  2. Be willing to hear the speaker out without turning the table.
  3. Ask questions for clarification.
  4. Make it clear what kind of feedback you are seeking and why it is important to you.
  5. Offer a structure for the feedback–questions, rating scales, stories.
  6. Be clear with your commitment.
  7. Describe how you have benefited from the feedback and what specific steps you will take toward improvement. This builds bridges and trust with others.

From “6 Smart Habits That Will Lead to a Fulfilling Life,” read more at … https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/6-inspiring-lessons-about-success-most-people-will-learn-too-late-in-life.html

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & a 9 quote introduction to its basic principles …

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell‘s new book includes chapters by 44 well-known practitioners of servant leadership.  Therefore, it is an excellent introduction to servant leadership principles. Here are some of the quotes that you will find in the book: “Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results.”

“9 Inspiring Quotes From One of the Most Anticipated Leadership Books Ever Published” by Michael Schwates, Inc. Magazine, 3/21/18.

1. Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s leading executive coach and author of the bestseller,Triggers. On the one question every servant leader should ask: The next time you run into a conflict, ask yourself this question: ‘Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?’

Like closing our office door so people hesitate before they knock, asking ourselves [this question] gives us a thin barrier of breathing room — time enough to inhale, exhale, and reflect on whether the outcome we seek is a true positive that is intended for the benefit of others, or a false positive that is intended to polish our own image. For servant leaders who want to make serving others their primary mission, that’s a vital distinction…

4. Michael Bush, CEO of consulting firm Great Place to Work. On acknowledging the human potential of all workers: [Servant leaders] also reject what’s been common management practice for decades: claiming people are your greatest asset but really valuing only about 10 percent or so of the souls in the upper echelons of the company. That elitist approach to business leaves human potential on the table, ultimately letting down individuals who work there as well as the business itself.

5. Simon Sinek, author of three bestselling books, including Start with Why.
On creating a culture of vulnerability: Creating a space in which people can feel vulnerable means a person can walk into their boss’s office to admit a mistake without fear of losing their job. It means someone can raise their hand and ask for help, admit they have been given a responsibility they don’t feel prepared or knowledgeable enough to complete, or admit they are scared without any fear of humiliation or retribution. We trust that the servant leader will come running to our aid. This is what happens inside great organizations. In contrast, in a work environment that lacks good servant leaders, people will go out of their way to follow the rules at all costs, cover up mistakes, and deny accountability. Remember United Airlines?

6. Brené Brown, famous researcher and author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers, including Daring Greatly.
On recognizing and combating shame: Servant leadership and shame culture cannot coexist for a simple reason: the foundation of servant leadership is courage and shame breeds fear. Shame crushes our tolerance for vulnerability, thereby killing engagement, innovation, creativity, productivity, and trust.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/9-inspiring-quotes-from-one-of-most-anticipated-leadership-books-ever-published.html

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & Forgiveness takes practice because everyone has their own goals #IncMagazine

Excerpted from “7 tough lessons people often learn too late in life” by Nicolas Cole, Inc. Magazine, 9/6/16.

If possible, it’s best to learn these things sooner rather than later…

4. Your emotions take practice

When we think about practice, we often talk in terms of skill. You practice the piano, or you practice playing hockey. But the thing is, who you are emotionally also takes practice. You can practice humility, you can practice forgiveness. You can practice self-awareness and humor, just as easily as you can practice anger, resentment, drama, and conflict. Who you are, emotionally, is a reflection of the things you consciously (or unconsciously) practice. You were not “born” upset. You have merely practiced that emotion far more than you have, say, joy.

5. Everyone has his or her own agenda

This is quite a cliché phrase, and is often said in a negative context. But I am using it differently: It is worth acknowledging that, at the end of the day, we all must provide for ourselves. We all have our own dreams, goals, aspirations, families, close friends, and significant others, and we all want the same fundamental things. There are those you can trust, of course, but the best way to keep yourself rooted and at ease is to know that each and every person has his or her own agenda. You cannot control others. You cannot expect them to put you before themselves. And trying to do so may work for a period of time, but eventually, the truth will rise to the surface. Instead, make it a point to address and help others move toward their own dreams, as you request their help in moving toward yours. The relationship will more smoothly move in the right direction this way.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/nicolas-cole/7-crucial-lessons-people-learn-too-late-in-life.html

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & The full text of MLK JR.’s Drum Major Instinct Speech

“Dodge gets pushback for Super Bowl commercial using Martin Luther King Jr.’s voice” The Washington Post

Dodge aired a commercial for its Ram truck series during Sunday’s Super Bowl featuring a portion of a sermon from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that has drawn a backlash on social media. The decision to allow King’s sermon to be used was made by his estate.

The ad begins by noting that King delivered the sermon – known as “The Drum Major Instinct” – on Feb. 4, 1968, 50 years ago today. In the same sermon, delivered the same year he was assassinated, King also advised people not to spend too much on cars.

According to Stanford University’s reprinting of his sermon, this particular sermon was an adaptation of the 1952 homily ”Drum-Major Instincts” by J. Wallace Hamilton, who was a well-known, white liberal Methodist preacher at the time.

Here is the text from the sermon that was used as a voice-over in the commercial:

“If you want to be important – wonderful. If you want to be recognized – wonderful. If you want to be great – wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That’s a new definition of greatness. . . . By giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great . . . by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great. . . . You don’t have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don’t have to know [Einstein’s] theory of relativity to serve. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant.”

His sermon, delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta where he was a pastor, referenced the biblical passage Matthew 23:11-12, “The greatest among you will be your servant.”

… What the Super Bowl ad doesn’t include is the part from King’s sermon where he warns against the dangers of spending too much when buying a car and not trying to keep up with the Joneses.

“Do you ever see people buy cars that they can’t even begin to buy in terms of their income? You’ve seen people riding around in Cadillacs and Chryslers who don’t earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford,” King said in his sermon. “But it feeds a repressed ego. You know, economists tell us that your automobile should not cost more than half of your annual income. So if you make an income of $5,000, your car shouldn’t cost more than about $2,500. That’s just good economics.”

King concluded that sermon by imagining his own funeral, saying he wanted to be remembered for doing good deeds, including serving others. This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the death of King, who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968…

Read more at … http://www.nola.com/tv/index.ssf/2018/02/dodge_martin_luther_king_comme.html

SERVING & How the Fred Factor can change the reason teachers, teach

by Bob Whitesel, D. Min., Ph.D., 9/30/17.

In the book The Fred Factor, author Mark Sanborn tells the story of a postal mail carrier whose life changed.  He started seeing himself as serving the people to who he delivered mail, in addition to serving his bosses.

This has helped me in my career as a seminary professor.  Rather than see my job as serving just my students, I see my job as also serving the “parishioners” who they lead.  That keeps their needs in my mind too.

If you are a teacher, read this book to gain a new perspective on those your teaching must reach.

ART of LEADERSHIP & “The leader must become a servant and a debtor” – Max DePree

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Max DePree not only built Herman Miller into a world wide home and office furniture company, but also wrote the most definitive leadership book of the 20th Century: “Leadership is an art.” He vastly impacted my study of servant leadership, transformational leadership and authentic leadership.  My interest in his theories of leadership began when he signed my MDiv diploma from Fuller Theological Seminary in 1977 (he has chairman of Fuller’s board).  Here is a brief overview from Fuller regarding his graduation to glory.

News release by Fuller Theological Seminary, 8/8/17.

… In his four popular leadership books—Leadership Is an Art, Leadership Jazz, Leading Without Power, and Called to Serve—Max, in a gentle storytelling style, shared his vast knowledge and wisdom about leadership and management, always emphasizing putting people first. “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality,” he famously stated in Leadership Is an Art. “The second is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor.”

Read more at … http://fuller.edu/about/news-and-events/articles/2017/his-leadership-was-an-art–celebrating-max-de-pree/

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SERVANT LEADERSHIP & 10 Convincing Reasons to It According to Research

by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 9/1/16.

Robert Greenleaf popularized the term in 1970 when he wrote his famous essay, The Servant as Leader, in which he stated,

“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. 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?”

Reason No. 1: Organizational effectiveness is high.

Dr. Robert Liden, Professor of Management at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), has conducted many studies on the topic that links servant leadership to building strong teams and collaboration. Here’s Dr. Liden discussing servant leadership’s impact on job performance.

Dr. Robert Liden “How Servant Leadership Improves Business Performance” from Liz Dickey on Vimeo.

Reason No. 2: Servant leadership pumps up the team with confidence, which leads to high-performance.

Published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (2011), Jia Hu & Dr. Liden studied 304 employees representing 71 teams in 5 banks.

They concluded that servant leaders facilitate team confidence, affirming the strengths and potential of the team and providing development support…

Reason No. 3: Servant leadership leads to more helping and creative employees.

Employees of servant leaders are more helping and creative than those working with leaders who scored lower on servant leadership.

Source: Neubert, Kacmar, Carlson, Chonko, & Roberts, Journal of Applied Psychology, 2008…

Reason No. 5: Greater job satisfaction.

In a study at a five-hospital system with 17 departments, 253 nurses who perceived that their nurse managers had a higher servant leadership orientation demonstrated significantly greater job satisfaction.

Source: Jenkins & Stewart, “The importance of a servant leader orientation,” Health Care Management Review, 2010

Reason No. 6: The Jason’s Deli Study.

University of Illinois at Chicago recently conducted a Servant Leadership study of 961 employees at 71 Jason’s Deli restaurants in 10 metropolitan areas in the U.S.

The research reveals when bosses act as servants to their employees, it’s good for business. Measurable increases in key business metrics like job performance (6 percent), customer service (8 percent) and employee retention (50 percent) were observed.

Research co-author Sandy Wayne, Ph.D., explains the benefits of Servant Leadership as much more than a nice thing to do for your employees; it’s good for the bottom line.

Reason No. 7: Because these successful organizations operate as servant leadership cultures.

Research has identified these high-performing and profitable organizations as being servant-led:

  • Chick-fil-A
  • Home Depot
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • UPS
  • Ritz Carlton
  • Room & Board
  • Whole Foods
  • Starbucks
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Levy Restaurants
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • TSYS

Source: Washington Post, 2013

Here’s Bachelder at the 2013 Servant Leadership Institute Winter Conference Panel explaining, rather humorously, how financial performance stems from a servant leadership culture.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/10-convincing-reasons-to-consider-servant-leadership-according-to-research.html

COMMUNICATION & 5 Ways to Motivate a Team

The 5 Communication Habits All Leaders Need to Motivate a Team” by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 1/18/17.

A global leadership study revealed that 85 percent of companies reported an urgent need to develop employees with leadership potential.

For this conversation, I’m going to simplify the practice of great leadership communication down to 5 principles.

1. Communicate in “we” rather than “I” or “you” language.

As a leader, you may not be consciously aware of the role language plays. It can build up or tear down your tribe. There are things you may choose to say that will either empower or disempower.

There are certain “I” or “you” statements you want to avoid, as it may come across as critical or bossy, as if employees are there to serve you and your needs, instead of the reverse. (If servant leadership is a new business concept for you, start here)…

2. Communicate with radical honesty…

Their HR team put together a Crucial Conversations®training that is rooted on radical honesty to step up and handle high-stakes issues to improve company-wide results.

Results were dramatic. Teams reported better synergy and team unity, and found new ways to help each other. Their sales team used the learned skills to drastically improve interactions with customers.

3. Communicate with the aim of developing trust first…

In his phenomenal book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says that a team with high trust will produce results faster and at lower cost. But should you first earn the trust of your people? Or does trust develop from having a belief in your people first — their strengths, abilities, and commitment?

In other words, which of these two statements would you agree with?

A. Trust is something that people must earn.

B. Trust is something that should be given as a gift.

If you chose A, you’re in the majority. Conventional thinking says that people have to earn trust first, and if they violate that trust, it becomes difficult to earn it back, right? But if you selected B, pat yourself on the back. It has been found that, in healthy organizations, leaders are willing to give trust to their followers first, and they give it as a gift even before it’s earned.

4. Communicate through regular praise and recognition.

Did you know that receiving recognition is the most important performance motivator? It’s also a powerful way to get employees motivated

The companies in one large Gallup study that displayed the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as powerful motivators to get employee commitment and loyalty.

Praise should be given once per week.

5. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Companies with leaders who “sweep things under the rug” will eventually be exposed as not trustworthy. The flip side is transparent and truth-telling leaderswho will explain current realities and bring everyone into the conversation for unity. Such leaders will win hearts and minds of loyal employees.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/first-90-days-communication-habits-all-leaders-need-to-motivate-a-team.html

CONFLICT & Research Finds 2 Tools that Promote Intellectual Humilty & Resolve Conflict

by David Briggs, Huffington Post, 6/1/16.

Humility. Intellectual humility in particular.

New research projects are finding the more pastors are perceived to be intellectually humble, the more likely they are to be forgiven by people who took offense at something they said or did.

This was especially the case in one study for perceived transgressions in the area of religious beliefs, values or convictions, core areas of religious identity that have the potential to tear asunder congregations.

All congregations are going to go through “relational wear and tear,” and the tension can be particularly high when strongly held religious beliefs are threatened, researchers said.

But humble clergy who model openness and mutual respect may provide the “social oil” that keeps the congregation from overheating and breaking under the strain, new research indicates.

Listening to others

…Humility involves being other-oriented and having an accurate view of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Intellectual humility includes being open to new ideas and being able to regulate arrogance. Thus, intellectually humble individuals are able to present their own ideas “in a nonoffensive manner and receive contrary ideas without taking offense,” said researchers reporting on studies of intellectual humility and religious leadership. The team, led by researchers from Georgia State University, found intellectual humility was associated with higher levels of trust, openness and agreeableness.

“…The more victims perceived the religious leader to have intellectual humility, the more they reported being able to forgive him or her,” reported the study’s researchers, led by Joshua Hook of the University of North Texas.

Modelling Respect

It is the unusual congregation that can avoid internal tensions for too long.

More than six in 10 congregations reported some kind of conflict in the past five years, according to the 2015 Faith Communities Today study.

…More than a quarter of all congregations experienced a conflict in the last two years that led some people to leave the congregation, according to the 2006-2007 National Congregations Study. Nine percent of congregations experienced a conflict that led to the departure of a clergyperson or other religious leader.

Findings from the studies on religious leaders are consistent with a developing body of research that indicate perceived humility can help repair social bonds. In one study, college students who had been hurt in a romantic relationship within the last two months were more likely to forgive an offender they perceived as being humble…

Read more at … http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-briggs/saving-grace-the-leadersh_b_10209548.html?utm_hp_ref=religion&ir=Religion

SERVANT LEADERSHIP & New Managers Need a Philosophy About How They’ll Lead

(an excerpt) The idea of “servant leadership” is a great place for new managers to start. Robert Greenleaf coined the term 35 years ago, but the concept is still vital and empowering. Granted, “servant” doesn’t sound nearly as powerful as “boss,” but it has the potential to deliver far more of what most of us are really after: influence. The reason is simple. When you have a servant mentality, it’s not about you. Removing self-interest and personal glory from your motivation on the job is the single most important thing you can do to inspire trust. When you focus first on the success of your organization and your team, it comes through clearly. You ask more questions, listen more carefully, and actively value others’ needs and contributions. The result is more thoughtful, balanced decisions. People who become known for inclusiveness and smart decisions tend to develop influence far more consistently than those who believe they have all the answers.

Servant leadership is most powerful when applied to managing employees. The first step in embracing this mindset is to stop thinking that your employees work for you. Instead, hold onto the idea that they work for the organization and for themselves. Your role as servant is to facilitate the relationship between each employee and the organization. Ask yourself, “What will it take for this employee to be successful in this relationship?” And, “What does the organization need to provide in order to hold up its end of the bargain?” When these questions drive your thinking, you advance both parties’ interests. (The same principles apply to managing products, supply chains, and customer relationships, but we’ll keep our focus on employees here.)

Does servant leadership prohibit telling people what to do or correcting their behavior? On the contrary, it means that you must do these things to facilitate an individual’s success within the organization. The key is that your mind is in “servant mode” when you perform the daily tasks of management.

Read more at …,https://hbr.org/2015/09/new-managers-need-a-philosophy-about-how-theyll-lead

LEADERSHIP & Proven Leader, Harvard Professor Explains How To Learn Leadership

by Devin Thorpe , Forbes Magazine, 8/12/15.

Robert Steven Kaplan , the former Vice Chair of Goldman Sachs, Harvard professor, venture philanthropist, author and regular guest on my show here on Forbes, will see his new book, What Your Really Need to Lead, published on September 15.

In anticipation of a return to the show, Kaplan shared some thoughts with me about his new book.

Kaplan said, “Leadership is one of the most important aspects of our society, yet there is enormous disagreement and confusion about what leadership means, and whether it can really be learned. I argue that leadership qualities are not something you either have or you don’t. Leadership is about what you do, rather than who you are, and it starts with an ownership mind-set.”

Kaplan says, learning to lead involves three key elements:

  1. Thinking like an owner
  2. A willingness to act on your beliefs
  3. A relentless focus on adding value to others

“Leadership is accessible to each of us, but it requires a process of hard work, willingness to ask questions, and openness to learning,” he adds.

“In the book I really try to demystify leadership and outline a specific regimen that will empower the reader to build his or her leadership skills. You need to ask yourself probing questions, and then take follow-up steps that will help you develop your skills, create new habits, and move toward reaching your unique leadership potential,” he concludes…

Read more at … http://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2015/08/12/proven-leader-harvard-professor-explains-how-to-learn-leadership/

AUTOCRATIC LEADERSHIP & Why Collaborate Leadership is Replacing It #HarvardBusinessReview

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: “Directive or autocratic leadership is shown in this research to be less effective today than a teambuilding, collaborative approach to leadership. The church leadership model, where the senior pastor makes most of the major decisions and is viewed as the expert, is according to this article less effective. See several charts that depict how today leaders value ‘discovery, collaboration, acting as an equals’.”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/07/most-managers-think-of-themselves-as-coaches/

HUMILITY & Rooting Out Hubris, Before a Fall #HarvardBusinessReview

Summary by Dr. Whitesel: “Tough love, humility and servant leadership may be the keys to preventing organizational hubris.”

Rooting Out Hubris, Before a Fall
by Steven Berglas, Harvard Business Review,

Steven Bergllas states: “Kenneth Lay, the former CEO of Enron, is a good example of executive hubris. Long before the company imploded, Lay lauded his company for being a ‘new economy’ corporation ‘before it became cool to be one…’ What is tragic about Lay’s self-destruction and the Enron collapse — apart from the number of lives ruined by it — is … he let his pride get in the way of reason, causing devastation as a result. Unable to watch his pride and joy fail, and unwilling to make the hard decisions that might have saved a diminished version of it, he decided to cook the books – and in so doing, his business’s goose.

Is there ever a way to deflate hubris while it’s still inflating, before the bubble disastrously bursts?  A few structural modifications of your corporate zeitgeist – or clarifications of principles you assumed were clear and accepted — along with some well-placed and properly-timed shots of tough love should do the trick…

Chief among the aspects of your corporate culture that you must imbue in all employees –but particularly the stars who are most vulnerable to hubris— is the virtue of humility…

Even if you do so, however, you cannot ensure that one of your ‘big hitters’ won’t make a public display of himself following a major success. This is the time for tough love: Let him know in stern terms that his celebratory antics are not becoming. Remind him that most people enjoy rooting for underdogs, dark horses, and long shots – especially when they’re competing against top dogs.  (Avis Corporation’s “We’re #2!” ad campaign capitalized on just this feeling.) It’s human nature to enjoy the sight of an idol falling off a pedestal… This is why humble pie should be the only dessert served in the corporate cafeteria …”

Read more at … http://blogs.hbr.org/2014/04/rooting-out-hubris-before-a-fall/

LEADERSHIP & 6 Compelling Things To Do

6 Things Really Compelling Leaders Do

, Inc. Magazine, 2/3/14

“But every once in a while, an amazing leader surfaces, one capable of moving people to action. This is not just a leader who gets people to think. This is a leader who is truly compelling, who can get people to change course and give of themselves.

Many of you are capable of this compelling leadership. But being a compelling leader is not simple and natural for most… Below are skills you must master to create a movement of people who will step up and do something important and powerful.

1. They show strength. They embody faith and commitment to their message, which builds a belief in their authenticity. Their strength is rich and deep enough for others to not only observe it but to draw from it. To be a compelling leader, you must choose a cause worthy of your faith and share your inner strength boldly and generously.
2. They connect empathetically.
But compelling leaders don’t worry about acquired authority. Instead, they practice empathy as a means for inspiring people. They explore how people tick and what they care about, so they are able to address people “where they live.” To be a compelling leader, you must be approachable and relatable to attract and retain those who will join your journey.
3. They inspire with vision.
Compelling leaders can clearly articulate a vision. They paint a picture of something better for people to live and breathe. To be a compelling leader, you must be a great storyteller. You must detail for people a desirable future worthy of their efforts.
4. They attract doers. Leaders are judged as much by their teams as by their actions. Compelling leaders attract many but choose to build teams only with proactive people who are self-driven and objective-oriented. To be a compelling leader, you must be selective about those who join your team. You must reward those who are self-starters and forgo the weak who will deplete morale.
5. They earn respect.
Compelling leaders gain authority from their performance and how they relate to people. They earn respect of people through small actions of success and connection. Then people trust that leaders have a right to be heard and followed. They may not have all the answers, but they know how to move forward in a humble and inclusive way.