I found this image online that itemized the “7 pillars of servant leadership”. OMG. I am such a total failure!
- Person of Character. I suppose I have a character, or maybe I even AM a character, but I don’t think either of those interpretations will meet servant-leader standards.
- Puts People First. Flunk this one too. My focus is on action, results, and outcomes – and engaging people in putting their attention on that. I don’t focus on people first, but even so, some of my best friends are people.
- Skilled Communicator. Well, I’m not a terrible communicator, but not sure if I qualify as “skilled”. I don’t always use the best practices I’ve been taught, and sometimes make communication mistakes. Fortunately, I’m pretty good at cleaning those up afterward.
- Compassionate Collaborator. Huh? Who put those two words together? I suspect it’s an attempt to combine collaborating with others while also “developing” them. I’d get about a C+.
- Has Foresight. I might pass this one, since I’m often looking ahead to see what’s coming in different projects. But I’ve really been enjoying lots of surprises lately, so foresight only goes so far.
- Systems Thinker. Nailed this one! I’m so addicted to systems thinking that I got a PhD in it. I love looking at things in context and finding connections that can make solutions and breakthroughs easier.
- Leads with Moral Authority. Clueless here. I don’t even know what this means. Does it require certain religious beliefs, or ethics training? Flunked this one too.
So, thanks to #6, I am one seventh of a servant leader. I just wrote a paper on leadership vs. management, and will present it at a conference in March. Frankly, the state of leadership literature and training today is quite a mess.
Leadership is useful for creating mission, vision, and purpose (MVP) – and for communicating it regularly. But I can do much of that for myself, so I’m hooked on management. One comprehensive definition of that is: “the function that coordinates the efforts of people to accomplish goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively.” Yeah! That’s what produces action, results, and outcomes!
Seems like it might be a good idea for me to cultivate some moral authority, or some compassionate collaboration skills. LOL. Just kidding.