Learn Servant Leadership from Inside Out©
Take the Heroic Dive to the Center of Yourself and Your Organization
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”
Most organizations in the world today operate from a “financial first” model, which doesn’t take into consideration a higher purpose that serves its employees, customers and society as a whole.
By contrast, servant leaders place people and the greater good first. Robert K. Greenleaf first coined the term as it relates to business, “The servant-leader is servant first…It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first… [D]o those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?”
Business as a Serving Institution
Unlike the outmoded command and control model of the workplace, where people were seen as cogs within the business machine, Greenleaf believed that business is a serving institution. It was his philosophy that, “Business exists as much to provide meaningful work to the person as it exists to provide a product or service to the customer.”
As servant leaders, we are dedicated to helping those we serve draw meaning and purpose from the work they do. We also look for opportunities to help them step into greater roles of service and leadership, even when it takes them away from working for our organization. As those we lead become better aligned with work they feel passionately about, it helps everyone in the organization flourish and better serve the community.
The Intersection of Heroism and Servant Leadership
The Heroic Journey is a Powerful Universal Story that places our subjective life experiences in a context of personal unfolding heroism. Servant Leadership has Ten Principles, that, when implemented in our real world environment, take the theory of service out of our head and puts it into real life practice. While our heroism provides us with a template for how to strengthen our character, Servant Leadership proves how firmly anchored these leadership principals actually are in the ground of our being.
Both the Heroic Journey and Servant Leadership view life as an adventure in self-understanding, where risk-taking is expected and encouraged. As servant leaders, we may have fears about making the best decisions possible or making mistakes. As Jack Lowe, Jr., former CEO of TD Industries, Inc., says of himself and his company, “We have been practicing servant leadership for over 40 years and we haven’t produced a perfect servant-leader yet.” When we tap into our heroism within, we don’t let our fears keep us from taking action. We make the most informed decisions possible and move forward, knowing that risk-taking is the only way humanity has ever moved forward.
Together Heroic Journey and Servant Leadership help us go within and develop a holistic perspective about life, so we can more fully Live from Our Center, Relate from Our Center, Work from Our Center and Lead from Our Center. Once we do, we become wiser, more mature human beings, who are more effective agents of transformation for our organizations and the world.
Stewardship as Your Contract with Humanity
"An individual has not started living until [he/she] can rise above the narrow confines of [his/her] individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
—Martin Luther King
As we delve deeper into our own servant leadership journey, our personal ambition begins to fall away. What takes its place is a desire to serve humanity, however we are called to serve. We know that at the highest level, the appearance of separation between self and other is only an illusion. We realize that when we serve others, we also serve ourselves. We are simply vessels allowing life to be lived through us in our own unique way.
As servant leaders we embrace stewardship as a way of being. Peter Block, author of Stewardship: Choosing Service Over Self-Interest and The Empowered Manager, defined stewardship as “holding something in trust for another.” It is “the willingness to be accountable for the well-being of the larger organization by operating in service, rather than in control, of those around us.” We know that our personal power is derived not from power over anyone or anything, but from a desire to serve everyone and everything we contact.
Along with stewardship comes personal responsibility to consider the ramifications of our actions and inactions for all concerned. Not only do we examine the impact for ourselves and those around us. We take into account the effect on the broader community and our natural environment. We know that as stewards we are active participants in not only creating our own future, but the future of the entire planet.
In our work, stewardship can become a form of daily meditation. As we go about our day-to-day activities, we contemplate how our thoughts, interactions, and work product contribute to the greater whole. We sincerely ask ourselves tough questions. Am I being true to my integrity? Did my words hurt this person’s feelings? Was I acting in retaliation for past events? Does this product promote environmental sustainability? Am I treating customers with the highest regard? As we honestly evaluate our ways of responding to the world and adjust our thoughts and interactions accordingly, we not only become better stewards. We also help shift the meaning of heroism in the global consciousness.
“I have often wondered how our world would be different if the principle of assisting or serving others was viewed equally with that of scoring or gaining for one’s own [sake]. Service above self could lead to the changes that would bring about global renewal.”
—John J. Gardiner
We’re Here to Support You
While you have a unique heroic path to follow in life, you don’t have to face your personal challenges alone. We are here to help you master those challenges through Life Guidance Mentoring and Leadership Development Mentoring.
Let us know if we can further support you on your personal or professional journey!