10 Core Competencies of Servant Leadership and Philanthropic Institutions

engagement

You cannot buy engagement, and you will pay for disengagement.”

Adele du Rand, Professional speaker

Servant-Leadership and Philanthropic Institutions by John C. Burkhardt and Larry C. Spears represent chapter five of the book we are using as a guide, Practicing Servant-Leadership: Succeeding Through Trust, Bravery, and Forgiveness by Larry C. Spears and Michelle Lawrence.

In this chapter, Burkhardt and Spears discuss the ever growing and evolving field of philanthropy including the ever changing society in which these institutions seek to serve. Robert Greenleaf had some ideas about the roles of service and leadership within philanthropic institutions and he believed, as I do, that service and leadership and interdependent, symbiotic and connected.

They mention the characteristics of servant leadership; Listening, empathy, healing, persuasion, awareness, foresight, conceptualization, commitment to the growth of the people, stewardship, and building community with regard to and in alignment with philanthropic institutions. Here is a re-cap of each.

Listening

Philanthropic institutions must show the way forward and listen not only to themselves but to listen, and even amplify the voices of those they serve that go unheard.

Empathy

Foundations and other grants-making organizations must be ever careful that within their role of judging grant proposals (most times way more than they can fund) that they don’t lose sight of the people who have a need and to maintain this empathetic connection between the people who have the influence and the people who are being served.

Healing

Healing in this context refers to the healing of one’s self first. Greenleaf challenged us to heal internally from the isms in the world (racism, sexism, etc.) and to provide access to opportunity, promote and engage in peace, and to build community. He said these efforts cannot happen if we have not addressed them both internally and externally. Indeed, philanthropic institutions have the responsibility in the ongoing press of reconciliation.

Persuasion

Foundations must rely on leadership that works by influencing people through moral power and not through coercion and positional authority.

Awareness

Philanthropic institutions must rely more on the awareness of perception to a greater level than ever before. Greenleaf spoke about the leaders as the seeker and in the grants-making world, awareness is a more evolved way to work (and judge grant proposal) rather than to just rely on objectivity, detachment, and expert knowledge. Awareness is at the next level of consciousness than these.

Foresight

For philanthropic institutions, foresight is the most important servant leadership characteristic to possess for just as the original donor employed foresight in leaving an endowment and/or money for the future of service, the institution must commit to resources now, not thinking about the present day but using foresight considering the future of its work and service.

Conceptualization

Conceptualization is about grant-making institutions making meaning of its work and service to society. In this context vision and conceptualization are seen as a process in which the leaders and followers arrive at the decision together. Conceptualization should be seen as the way for the institution and not merely a skill of the leader.

Commitment to the Growth of the People

As philanthropic institutions shift their consciousness from seeing its philanthropic investments as commitments to the people, rather than the problem, they will perceive their work in a different way, a new conceptualization. And Greenleaf called this new way of seeing it as a “high calling.”

Stewardship

The role of philanthropies is to, as Peter Block said, “hold something in trust for another.” What this means is that wealthy individuals gave their wealth to trusted organizations to act responsibly in serving and healing the world. Stewardship must directly impact the decisions that institutions make as stewards of endowments. In other words, keep the original vision of the endowment while operating in today’s context of need, all for the people.

Building Community

Philanthropic institutions must work together in purpose and as clear vehicles of internal cohesion if they are to be of service. Greenleaf says it plainly, “Am I connected?” Modern philanthropic institutions must live and work in a holistic and integrated way so that that remain, “On the growing edge of the contemporary phase of history but still connected to the main body of people and events. This is what community building is all about, staying connected to the people.

 

At the end of the day, philanthropic institutions and organizations have the greatest challenge as they serve and heal the world. Their challenge is to set the intention (create a vision) for their communities that go far beyond their approach, creating access for people, and contact. It’s all about engagement. Burkhardt and Spears put it this way, “The sense of community envisioned by Greenleaf does not tolerate much self-interest, nor does it provide much in the way of shelter from real relationships, with real people in real situations.

 

To Engagement,

Dr. Crystal

 

Servant Leadership at Work

Robert K. Greenleaf’s research centered on the notion of servant leadership through his writings, his life, and his work. One of his books, The Servant as Leader was an introduction of servant leadership that came through his work at AT&T. Greenleaf initially started at AT&T as a lineman digging postholes and retired in 1964 as Director of Management Research. Over the years of work at At&T, Greenleaf observed decreased creativity and critical thinking in the workplace. He noticed that people were separating themselves from their work. What he saw was that people were yearning for a better work environment – a better way to connect the work life balance.

Greenleaf observed that people really wanted to align personal growth with their work. This was not a comfortably embraced concept by the workplace or education at the time. Therefore, after his retirement, Greenleaf began a second career, which lasted 25 years, as a consultant educating institutions, churches, and businesses. Greenleaf served as a consultant to major organizations, such as the American Foundation for Management Research, and Lilly Endowment Incorporation. Greenleaf gained valuable insight into management practices, challenges, and practitioner insight while working as a consultant. Because of these insights, Greenleaf started the Center for Applied Ethics in 1964, (renamed the Center for Servant Leadership in Indianapolis, Indiana). Here, he could study servant leadership in depth and write and about what he saw in the workplace. The notion of servant leadership emerged. Today, nearly 50 years later, servant leadership is gaining ground as a valid management and leadership style in the workplace. Indeed, everyone can be servant leaders – not just supervisors and managers.

The servant leader recognizes that the desire to serve comes from within. This innate feeling drives the servant leader to stay focused on the people and the success of the group or organization in which they are involved. I believe this internal consciousness is best exemplified through Otto Sharmer’s theory of Presencing (Theory U). Presencing is the act of connecting to the source of inspiration and will. It allows for the individual or group to go to the place of silence and allow the inner knowing to emerge. Servant leaders who practice the art of presencing are creating the proper mental environment conducive to creativity and profound insight while sensing the hidden sources of idea generation.

Servant leaders who use prescencing realize that it requires the tuning of three instruments: the open mind, the open heart, and the open will. This opening process is not passive but an active “sensing” together as a group. While an open heart allows us to see a situation from the whole, the open will enables us to begin to act from the emerging whole. From this place, a beautiful sense of an emerging future takes place and ideas flow like a river. This state of consciousness is likened to an athlete who is preparing for a game, or getting in the zone. Everyone at work can shift into this consciousness as everyone possesses minds, hearts, and wills.

Presencing is a new approach to essential leadership for the 21st century workplace. Individuals and organizations willing to do the hard work necessary to facilitate this type of leadership and its processes are positioned for heretofore unimaginable future of infinite possibilities.

To Leading,

Dr. Crystal

Crystal J Davis is a servant leader, blogger, and researcher. She holds a Doctorate in Management specializing in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Davis is passionately engaged in Servant Leadership and selfless service to the nonprofit and public sectors having served both large and small organizations throughout her career and consulting business. Follow Crystal @DrDavis2126 (Twitter) and Lead.From.Within. (Facebook).

© Copyright 2015 ~Dr. Crystal J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.

Servant Leadership – Robert K. Greenleaf

Robert K. Greenleaf advanced the servant leadership through his writings, his life, and his work. Greenleaf espoused his ideology about servant leadership through his work The Servant as Leader.  Robert Greenleaf‘s (1904-1990) introduction of servant leadership came through his work at AT&T.  Greenleaf initially started at AT&T as a lineman digging postholes and retired in 1964 as Director of Management Research.  Greenleaf confirmed in his writings the observation of a decrease in creative and critical thinking at work.  People were separating themselves from their work.

In his work on management, Greenleaf noted that people desired to align personal growth with his or her work.  This was not a comfortably embraced concept by the workplace or education at the time.  Therefore, after his retirement, Greenleaf began a second career, which lasted 25 years, as a consultant educating institutions, churches, and businesses.  Greenleaf served as a consultant to major organizations, such as the American Foundation for Management Research, and Lilly Endowment Incorporation.  Greenleaf gained valuable insight into management practices, challenges, and practitioner insight while working as a consultant.  Because of these insights, Greenleaf started the Center for Applied Ethics in 1964, (renamed the Center for Servant Leadership in Indianapolis, Indiana).

Greenleaf said his servant leadership theory was crystallized by the novel, Journey to the East, a work that deeply moved Greenleaf.  In the story, the servant, Leo, was the caring leader.  Leo’s leadership style was that of a caring spirit such that the people claimed that they did everything themselves.  On the journey, Leo disappeared.  The group fell apart and abandoned the spiritual quest.  The group realized they needed Leo.  Years later, the narrator found Leo and learned Leo was accepted as the head of the noble order.  The narrator had only known Leo as a servant.  Indeed, Leo was a great and noble leader.  A leader who exemplifies servant leadership, such as Leo, can see the effect of his or her leadership through the growth of the people.  Greenleaf defined servant leaders as passing a test if the people are wiser, freer, and healthier.  If the people served by the leader become servant leaders, the leader is a practitioner of servant leadership.

This story provided the foundation for Greenleaf’s servant leadership theory.  Greenleaf’s interpretation of the story was the key to the servant leader’s greatness, which is the willingness to serve first.  Other of Greenleaf’s writings highlighted his commitment to grassroots organizations that worked on issues of social injustices of that time.  Apparent in his writings was his commitment to the Judeo Christian and Quaker faith.  Greenleaf was a member of the Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1935 and wrote an unpublished manuscript related to his faith.