Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant leadership is the potential for healing oneself and others. Many people have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts. Although this is part of being human, servant leaders recognise that they have the opportunity to ’make whole’ those with whom they come in contact. Greenfield says ‘ there is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if implicit in the contract between servant leader and the led is an understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share’
General awareness and especially self awareness strengthens the servant leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness is scary, you never know what you may discover. Awareness also aids understanding issues that involve ethics and values. Situations can be viewed from a detached, more integrated, holistic position through awareness. Greenleaf says‘ Awareness is not a giver of solace- it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers after solace. They have their own inner security’.
Servant leaders rely on persuasion rather than using positional authority. They seek to convince others rather than coerce compliance. They talk from their passion and are willing to give full voice to their beliefs. They are effective at building consensus in groups. There is an emphasis on openness and persuasion rather than control.
Servant leaders nurture an ability to dream great dreams. To look at problems conceptually requires thought beyond the day to day. This needs discipline and practice. They need to hold the duality of ‘the day to day’ and ‘the vision’ and be able to dance between them or lead a team who can.
Foresight is understanding the lessons from the past, the realities of the present and the likely consequences of a decision for the future. It is rooted in the intuitive mind.
Servant leadership assumes the commitment to serving the needs of others and the greater good of society.
Commitment to the growth of people
Servant leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their contributions as workers. They are deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual in their organisation. They do everything within their power to nurture the personal, professional and spiritual growth of employees. This is providing funds and opportunities for development in or outside the organisation. They encourage and respect people making decisions for themselves.
Servant leaders see that much has been lost in the shift from local community to big institutions and want to bring back the essence of community in the global village we now live in.
The Servant Within Robert Greenleaf
The websites www.greenleaf.org and http://www.spearscenter.org/ gives more information.
Judith Mills 2009