Servant Leadership: A Diamond in Theory and Practice

It occurred to me recently that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything on leadership; and, considering I spend a large portion of my week, nay, my life, conducting leadership activities, conversations, and collaborations, it seemed like just the time to create a new conversation.

In lieu of a diary entry this week, I’m going back to a previous post about servant leadership, and picking up from there, with new eyes, as it were. Meaning, it’s been almost a year since the last post on servant leadership, and I’ve learned a lot about, well, everything in the last year. Update needed.

Ready? Good. Here we go.

What is servant leadership? Good question. Here is the definition.

“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. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.” 

Robert E Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

I like to think about servant leadership as a leadership style that upends traditional notions of what leadership looks, sounds, and feels like. It is, thus, quite different. It is also harder.

Harder because servant leadership incorporates subtle elements of leadership. For instance, the emotional well-being of the self, and each person in the organization, business, and or team are of utmost importance. These more subtle elements of leadership are not always captured in other, more traditional leadership styles.

In order to fully grasp the distinction between traditional leadership, and servant leadership, let’s first take a quick look at organizational hierarchies.

Organizational Hierarchies

In traditional conversations and discussions about servant leadership, it is common to see, read, and hear about the concept of flipping the traditional leadership hierarchy.

Traditional Leadership Hierarchy

Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.

Servant Leadership Hierarchy

Distribution Property Solutions, Inc.

The concept of the inverted triangle, seen above, is common, and while I agree with this concept, in practice, servant leadership actually plays out a little differently.

It plays out in practice differently, because the flow of information happens between everyone all the time, and does not occur in a one-way directionality, as the above example illustrates.

Let’s take a look at what I am pointing to here.

Servant Leadership and Traditional Leadership

In my previous article on servant leadership, I elaborated on the distinction between a traditional approach to leadership, and a servant leadership approach to leadership.

Simply, in many traditional leadership theories, the leader is charged with distilling information, sending it out, and then holding people accountable.

In servant leadership, however, there is a dynamic context created through leadership of the self, of which all members of the team are responsible, creating a synergy of relationships and communication.

And, yet, even in the inverted servant leadership triangle, we see that the flow of information is distinguished with arrows, which still have a one-way directionality. As we will see in the next section, this concept is inadequate to fully describe how servant leadership is practiced.

Servant Leadership in Practice: A Diamond in Theory and Practice

In a context where servant leadership is practiced, information and communication is free flowing, collaborative, authentic, vulnerable, safe, and accountable. All of these things are true.

Information and Communication

Information does not flow from the top alone, as in a traditional leadership hierarchical model, nor does it only flow from the bottom, as in a servant leadership hierarchical model. 

Rather, information and communication flow all throughout the organization, business, and or team, in such a way that at all times, each person is leading their portions of work, and is in continual communication about their progress and barriers.

It is then up to the CEO or Director to ensure that the flow of information and communication is continually moving throughout the entire organization, business, and or team.

Here is a simple diagram of how I see and experience servant leadership actually being practiced.

As you can see from the three-dimensional pyramid diagram, both traditional leadership and servant leadership hierarchies are disrupted, and replaced by a nonhierarchical model.

The implementation of a nonhierarchical model ensures that each person in the organization, business, and or on the team has a voice in all matters, including the vision, mission, values, and the future direction of the organization, business, and or team.

Though the servant leadership diamond diagram is not inclusive of all of the possible communication flows, many are outlined, which gives us the basis of the conceptual framework.

The servant leadership diamond diagram, and associated conceptual framework are also practical. Meaning, it is entirely possible to implement the servant leadership diamond conceptual framework into any organization, business, and or team.

In fact, it has been done, and is done every day by the team I work on and with; and, though harder at times, it is a beautiful experience.

In the next post on the Servant Leadership Diamond Framework, we will explore several concepts that leaders will need to understand to create the appropriate context for the successful implementation of a leadership framework that disrupts all hierarchies in favor of a nonhierarchical model; creating more voice and empowerment for everyone in the organization, business, and or team.

Have a wonderfully beautiful week, everyone.


#collaboration, #communication, #information, #leadership, #organizationaldevelopment, #professionaldevelopment, #servantleadership, #servantleadershipdiamond, #teamdevelopment, #theoryandpractice, #traditionalleadership

A Blogger’s Diary 6/13/21: On the Week, Traveling to Los Angeles, and Utmost Feelings

Well, as you all know, this past week, I traveled to Los Angeles (LA) to see my family. First time in an airport and on an airplane in over 15 months. It was, well, amazing.

I flew out of the Eugene airport, which is a small airport about 45 miles south of Corvallis, where I live, and is super easy to fly out of and into. The airport was not crowded at all. In fact, it was super slow, and the plane was only about half full. However….

Upon landing in Los Angeles, that all changed. LAX was super busy. In fact, when I finally made it to the rental car company, there were about 30 people ahead of me in line. 

Now, I had two meetings that afternoon, yes, working while on my trip, so after waiting in the line for about 25 minutes, I chose to call an Uber and cancel my reservation. Was a good idea, as the line didn’t move much as I waited for the Uber driver.

It was great to see my mom, sisters, and nieces and nephews. Here are a couple things we did, while I was in LA.

Griffith Observatory and Hollywood

In the hills of LA there is the Griffith Observatory, which looks out over the city. Beautiful. Though the Observatory wasn’t open, you could walk around the grounds and take in all of the views. Here are some pics from our time at the Observatory, and our drive through Hollywood.

A High School Graduation

It was wonderful to see my niece graduate High School on my trip. I was surprised to see so many people, and, well, not surprised. It was a lovely ceremony. Here are some pics of the graduation.

After graduation, we went to the Lazy Dog restaurant, which I had never been to. The food was excellent, and the service was outstanding.

Seal Beach and Taco Surf

On my last day in LA, we took my niece and nephew to the beach in Seal Beach. It was a lovely day, sunny, yet cool. The beach was not overcrowded, and the water was, well, rather cold, yet felt lovely. Here are some pics of the beach.

After spending some time at the beach, we went to a local restaurant I loved to patronize when I was living in LA and working in Seal Beach, Taco Surf; and then stopped in a local bakery, Sweet Jill’s, delicious. Excellent food. 

Utmost Feelings, Coming Soon!

About two months ago now, I learned that Astha, of Writing feels good, passed away. I learned of this very sad news from our dear friend Cindy, of Unique Times. Cindy’s post talked about Astha’s Anthology that was being carried forward by Navin, of Navin’s Poetry.

I immediately visited Navin’s blog, and left a message. Navin responded very quickly, and asked for a poem, and said he would speak with the publishers, True Dreamster, about the possibility of making a late addition.

I was astonished and honored when they accepted the poem I shared with Navin. I am so honored to be a part of the beautiful Utmost Feelings Anthology. The Anthology is full of wonderfully inspirational poets, and is a beautiful tribute to Astha.

Thanks again, to Navin, True Dreamster, and all of the poets in Astha’s Anthology, Utmost Feelings

Please visit the True Dreamster Instagram page, when you have a moment, and share the news about Utmost Feelings. Thank you. 

Here are all of the co-authors of Astha’s Anthology, Utmost Feelings.

Beautiful people, just beautiful.

Alright, everyone, that’s all for this week.

Have a fantastic week, my dear friends.

#poetry, #anthology, #astha, #blog, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #collaboration, #family, #garduation, #grifithobservatory, #hollywood, #lazydog, #life, #los-angeles, #love, #seal-beach, #tacosurf, #truedreamster

The Fabric of Accessorised Attachment: Amber and Jeff (4)

When I look inside,
sometimes is found a diatribe,
of ideas, which are
moving and shaping
experience
without the knowledge
of the receiver.

Egoic mind in motion,
suffering extending roots
from craving to attachment.
Blinding light of awareness,
are you afraid of the
parallax light would perform?

Following these ideas
from here to there
is often pale,
until that is,
we get beyond
the veil.

We often accessorize
to people and ideas
too comfortably
with the gates to our heart
unlocked
with hope,
the void of emptiness
remains when the
filled absence
has dissolved.

We must then
make headway,
and, stay resolved,
by being open
to all that’s at our door,
while we learn more
about humanities very core.

Welcome others to be who
they truly are,
by mirroring and refracting
off Self.
Don’t force situations,
solutions once submerged emerge,
uncertainty is reality,
delve into it.

Experience
is a wise teacher, and
can shed light
on the ideas
we struggle with,
while we bundle close
together,
and pray for
our very souls.

Detachment does not
mean that you should own nothing,
but that nothing should own you.
Soaring above the
high planes,
be enrolled experience
yet not of it.

Experience as the guide,
please abide, and
delight yourself in the fabric
of reality within view,
while ensconcing
yourself in the mystery
of all that is hidden within you.

Created by Amber of DiosRaw, and myself.

#poetry, #attachment, #awareness, #collaboration, #detachment, #diosraw, #experience, #heart, #humanity, #life, #love, #mind, #mystery, #poem, #poems, #reality, #unreality

Remembering The Mirrored Child Within: Amber and Jeff (3)

Godly pure clay they came,
shaped then crafted
by environmental ruptures,
connected to Spirit,
adjacent to our home world,
this molded fabric weaves,
through the veil of amnesia.

Cloaked
in a brocade of vibrant colors
and images
of another place and paradigm,
as we left that ruptured line
and connection for a time.

Mirroring parental behaviour,
in the earthly realm,
observative as they are,
education brings the moment we see
children as innately wise and capable beings;
only then can we play along in their world.

Fitting into God’s plan,
to be of service to the divine.

Our invitation?

Shine a light
on all that you find within,
which came prior
to the social necessities laid bare
before you. Reconnection with Truth
is one of the greatest gifts
we can deliver to ourselves, and
all the rest of the fauna
and flora we find
everywhere.

Breaking the chains of illusion
necessitate the
familiarization with the Atman,
residing within the chambers
of the heart.

Seeded offspring from the
universal intelligence,
when you utter, leave an impression
on the young,
allowing them to embody
and fully love
who they have become.

To see the magical in the all
and be the teachers of the old by
remembering what you already know,
which lives within, and is free and clear.

Another lovely collaboration between Amber of DiosRaw and myself. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did writing it!

#poetry, #childwithin, #collaboration, #contemplation, #introspection, #life, #love, #poem, #poems, #realization

A Blogger’s Diary 4/11/21: On Writing, Reflecting, Collaboration, and Purpose

This past week, I’ve been reflecting upon purpose, which I’ll write more about in a moment, and planning in the unknown, which will be the topic of a post, well, I’m not sure when, yet will get to it eventually.

Before we get to my reflection on purpose, let’s take a look at a couple writing reflections.

Writing and Reflecting

Mind

The poem Mind was, as you may have already surmised, a reflection on my meditation practice. A large part of my life today. It is a beautiful experience, to sit and watch as the mind does it’s thing, and to become detached from it’s activity. It is also a wonder to sit and watch as your mind, over time, begins to slow and become more quiet. Magical.

The Mind poem was also my first foray into the Hexastich poetry style. I learned about this poem style, like many others, from a lovely blogger friend of mine. I’ve written another poem in this style already, and will have more to share in the coming weeks and months.

Gift

The poem Gift was a reflection of the many things I’ve learned in the past 4 years, as I’ve learned to go within from my life coach and teacher. It’s been difficult and one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.

And, like I write often, this nexus of the difficult and wonderful, a paradox (and not), is where the jewels of life live. When we slow down, go within, really get to know ourselves, we get back so much more. Beautiful.

Collaboration

As you may know, yesterday I posted The Dance Dances A Life of Its Own, which was a collaboration with Amber of DiosRaw. As a relatively new blogger, I’ve only done one other collaboration, which was the post, Vulnerability: A Paradox, with Maja of Lampelina.

Amber and I created the poem this past week, with the former, sending emails back and forth throughout the creative process. Was superb. A wonderful experience.

With the latter, I submitted a request to do a guest post on Lampelina, and Maja reached out to me to do so. Was also a great experience.

A lot of fun all-around.

There is another collaboration, of a different kind, coming soon, with another inspiring blogger. I’ll have more on that in the future.

I love the concept of, and practice of, collaboration. You learn so much more when you work with other people. It is by far one of my favorite things to do in this life, collaborate with inspirational people. I’ve been very lucky to have had these opportunities and many others in various areas of my life; and, I look forward to future ones.

Purpose

While I’ve written on purpose before, it is a concept and practice that I reflect upon, well, not quite often, yet it does come up now and then. This week, purpose has come up in regard to planning inside of the unknown.

There was a time in my life where I continually questioned my purpose. Was in fact, confounded by the idea of purpose. Maybe even a little afraid of the concept.

However, today, I accept my truth in regard to purpose. That, in fact, each moment we are alive, we can find our purpose in, well, exactly what it is that we are doing. Right now, typing this end of the week diary entry. In the next moment? Don’t know, it doesn’t exist yet.

What I am pointing to, is that purpose lives inside of us. Purpose is a concept that we attach meaning to, just like every other concept. If you believe that purpose needs to look and feel a certain way, and you don’t see or feel what you are looking for, well, then you’ll have a hard time finding your purpose.

However, if you believe that purpose lives within, and lives in each moment every day, doing exactly as you are already doing, well, there’s nothing to find. Your purpose is readily apparent in each moment everyday.

We can all develop an awareness of purpose that is different from the current one we hold. It just takes practice. Practice letting go of the concept of purpose as we understand it today, and learning a new way to think about and feel purpose.

Remember, purpose is first and foremost a concept. It is not a living breathing thing. We breathe life into the concept of purpose, as we do all concepts, when we give life to it by attaching meaning, which we create, to the concept.

And, just as we breathe life into the concept of purpose as we do today, we can learn a new way to breathe a different life into a new concept of purpose.

It is up to you, me, and everyone else; and, well, that’s quite empowering.

Alright, that’s all for this week.

Have a blessed week, my friends.

#poetry, #blog, #blogger, #bloggers-diary, #blogging, #collaboration, #collaborativewriting, #creatingpurpose, #diary, #poem, #poems, #purpose, #reflection

A Developmental Moment #6: Why Learning to Ask for Help is Necessary and Needed

Why Asking for Help is a Strength not a Weakness

The past two weeks I’ve been reflecting more upon patience and asking for help. The more people I meet, the more I realize just how important developing patience is, as is the ability to recognize when we need help.

Often people mistakenly believe that asking for help is, in some way, a demerit, or means they are in some way deficient. I would like to dispel this notion now.

When we ask for help, we are recognizing a limit, for the moment, to either what we know, or are capable of doing. It does not mean that we are deficient. In fact, it means the opposite.

Meaning that when we recognize a limit within ourselves, we immediately get to grow that limit to a new level. And, in that moment we are courageous. Many of the greatest leaders of all time recognize and celebrate this fact.

Here is a great quote from Barack Obama about asking for help.

Asking for Help 101

As I reflect upon times when asking for help was more difficult for me, I considered a few strategies that may be helpful for those that, like me, continue to see the action of asking for help as a developmental opportunity.

  • Start small – when asking for help, you can start small. Start by thinking about the areas in your work or life that you would either like to learn more about, or could use assistance with. For instance, when I first started to open up to the idea of asking for help, I would ask people to assist me with pieces of projects that fit their skill set. When you can ask someone for help, and give them a piece of work that excites or inspires them, it makes the process of asking for help a little easier.
  • Begin with people you already trust – one of the reasons I shied away from asking for help was because I was concerned about looking incompetent, which is a simple thinking error. When we don’t ask for help, and we try to do everything on our own is, in fact, when incompetence will be seen and felt. However, one way to allay the fear of looking incompetent by asking for help, is to ask someone you already know and trust.
  • Make it a healthy habit – the only way to really make asking for help stick in your life, is to do it regularly. Simply meaning, that creating a healthy habit of asking for help when needed, will continue to push you outside of your comfort zone. However, the more you ask for help, the less uncomfortable it will feel.

There are three simple strategies you can use to begin to ask people for help. Remember, we are always getting help from people around us, always. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all connected and interdependent. Yep, true.

As we have discussed, asking for help is a courageous act. Yet, people continue to see asking for help as something that is a weakness. Let’s continue to bust this myth, shall we? Good. Here we go.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

A Strength Not A Weakness

Here are a few more reasons why asking for help is needed and necessary, and should be considered a strength not a weakness.

  • Relationships – when we ask someone for help, we are acknowledging that relationships matter to us. That, in fact, we are vulnerable enough to say, “you know, I don’t know.” Important. When we are vulnerable in our relationships, and that vulnerability is reciprocated, our relationships become deeper and more meaningful.
  • Connection – when we learn to ask for help, we become more open. More open to asking people we don’t know for help. As we pursue asking people we don’t know for help, we create the opportunity to meet new people; and, to deepen our connection with our own humanity, and the humanity of others.
  • Collaboration – as we practice asking for help, we learn that this practice becomes a strength. We learn that asking for help is essential in order to really collaborate with other people. No true collaboration exists without asking for help. Simple.
  • Synergy – as we begin to collaborate more, we realize that inside of true collaboration exists a very powerful concept, called synergy. Synergy occurs when people are aligned, work together, and help each other. When you work on a team that has synergy, you are able to innovate and execute inside of any situation. Why? Because you’ve learned to ask for help. You’ve learned that asking questions, and asking for help is an essential part of being a human being.

Alright, there are a few more reasons why asking for help is needed and necessary, and why asking for help is a real strength.

If you’re not used to asking for help. Don’t worry. Try some of the strategies listed above in asking for help 101; and remember, when we ask for help, we are admitting, yes, we don’t know something, or need assistance in completing something. And, guess what?

We all don’t know many things; and, we all need assistance getting things done. We do. It’s not a demerit. It’s the opposite.

Asking for help is a sign of courage and a sign of your inner strength.

#asking-for-help, #collaboration, #connection, #courageous, #humandevelopment, #leadershipdevelopment, #organizationalculture, #relationships, #self-development, #strategy, #strength, #synergy, #teamdevelopment