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