Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Implementing Servant Leadership review Part 1

This isn't going to be your typical book review, first because it may happen in a couple of posts and second because I want to share with you the messages I have gotten from this book.  Again these are about my personal journeys and this is way for me to share with whomever wants to read it but also away for me to look back and reflect on what I have learned.

Implementing Servant Leadership stories from the field is by Don. M. Frick and is a compilation book about how a variety of companies implement servant leadership as their leadership model.  He uses examples from hospitals, to large construction companies, to neighbourhood coffee shops and churches.   In each it started with one person speaking to a group of people wanting to make a change so that things would be better for the company, it wasn't the necessarily about the bottom line but when a company is floundering trying anything is better than not trying at all.  In every story the company that embraced servant leadership was struggling and they made the change because they wanted to do better for their employees. The increased bottom line was just an added bonus, at least that's how I interrupted their stories.

So let us begin with hospitals journey to Servant Leadership.  The hospital was struggling and they needed to make a change, so they began the Servant Leadership journey. They designed a program to put their employees through because they understood that EVERYONE can be a leader.  They learned and embraced the importance of allowing people to lead so they could tap into their untapped potential and do a better job even though they were given fewer resources.  It was also important to note that by taking on Servant Leadership the "better than" attitude needed to be dealt with.  And all employees were given the opportunity to go through their program.

I liked the lay out of their program, it must be the teacher in me, but what was very clear to me was that the program wasn't a "can" program, that I could send out a request for then just implement it at my organization.  It was a living breathing entity of the hospital culture, it worked for them because they developed it for them.  Some of the the ideas, the processes, would work but the how my organization were to approach this would have to have unique spin on it for us, otherwise it would just be another training tool that our staff slept thru not actively participating in.  I've seen it a time or two.

Kathleen Fasbender shared that "Processes are there to serve the people, while people serve the processes to enhance the whole"(6) which immediately made me think of circles.  My boss is always talking about closing the circles.  We have processes in place and they are set up to help our people but for some reason they aren't closed or coming full circle.  Which means when we look at certain problems that come up because our process hasn't been fully realized to serve the people, are people can't serve the process and we are left with questions.

For me personally developing a Leadership workshop for my organization using the teachings of Servant Leadership is the end goal, it's what I wan to see happen, of what I want to be a part.  I would love to be part of the group that implements the workshop that does yearly retreats for groups of employees so that all our employees can be Servant Leaders to help with improving the quality of life of the people in our care.

I guess first though I have to feel confident in my ability to be a servant leader of my own life, which is why I have started on this journey.

I'm also going to speak to the Cape Town Connection in this blog.  Cape Town is in South Africa, it is a very poor town, that has a history of violence.  It has divisions that are still evident between the Blacks, Coloured and Whites.  But even when there doesn't seem to be anything, Hope is there.  Just like in Pandora's box, Hope remains.  With Hope you see people who hope to make a difference and choose to do something about it. With Hope you see people who want to improve their situations and people who want to help them.  It truly is a great showing of the human spirit, and of all the good things that humans are capable of if they just choose to think outside themselves.

I found in this chapter the quotes from the people most helpful, there were many great quotes from Robert Greenleaf, Nelson Mandela, Albert Einstein and others.  Nelson Mandela was quoted as saying "it is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur.  You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership."(73) It's important that when a celebration is occurring that all my coworkers, employees individuals get to participate in our celebration, get to know that where we are would never have occurred if not for their involvement, my part is a small part to play.  But when things get rough, I need to go out front and help my staff see how we can solve the problem, if their is a problem it is for me as the leader, to solve and to help educate my employees how they can solve future occurrences of a similar nature.  It's about empowering people to use their potential to improve the whole. Robert K. Greenleaf is quoted to say "Community [is] the lost knowledge of these times.  If it ain't fun it won't get done" (83) which is very true.  When we work together to create a real community, we create a culture, but if we don't honour those in our communities, when we create classes of citizens in our community we lessen the community and it's no fun to be there.  Community is at the heart of culture, no culture exists where a community did not.  You can dream up your culture but without people to believe in it, without people to live it the culture will not survive.

I will go more into what else I found interesting in this book in my next blog.
Thanks for reading

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Books that I have used to start my journey

For those of you that know me, you know that I am a big reader, like from way back!  I love books and even in fiction I can often find messages that I can apply to my own life.  If you aren't a huge reader, then maybe it will be hard for you to understand this, but maybe you use a different type of media to get messages to apply to your life, maybe it's music, maybe it's movies, television, reality television... everyone has something, books are my major venue for finding reasons and ideas to apply to my life.
So here is how my journey began....

It was during a committee meeting that Servant Leadership was first officially introduced to me, I had seen certificates for it at work but I didn't know where it came from or what it meant, so I let it be. Then the COO began speaking to Servant Leadership, and something sparked in me.  I wanted to learn more, I wanted to explore more and become versed in this new idea... a new idea, so I asked for some reading material, and this was the first book I read.  It was an easy read and after reading it, I wanted more and more...

Then after I had finished reading the first book we had to been given two more books to read.  Implementing Servant Leadership which has many stories from different agencies, businesses, groups that use Servant Leadership.  It was really interesting to read how the different organizations use it, and I will further record those fun tidbits in later blogs, but I felt that what they were doing is what I have always strived to do, I feel like Servant Leadership is a natural fit for me....

This is another short book I read in conjunction with the second book on this list.  This book is an analogy book, it's not on Servant Leadership exactly but it is a book about how to look at your life and how to change your way of thinking.... There are some definite key pointers to take from this book to help you deal with the different ups and downs one experience in life.

And the latest book that I am reading is this one.   I think it's popular enough in main stream culture that it needs little explanation, but it is definitely my spring board to making a whole life change.  I am reading this book, and working each chapter as I do it, which I will be blogging about to keep a chapter for me on my journey.

This is a journey I am taking, a journey I am happy to take, but it's not going to be easy, I'll probably have set backs, and epiphanies, but it will happen because it is what I plan to accomplish.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Crash and Burn.......

Does this ever happen to anyone else? You are go, go, go..... then all of a sudden, the motivation that was driving you to complete everything on your plate disappears.  Just vanishes, and try as you might you can't get back on track...

from quotes
It's like your body, or mind, telling you to it's time to take a break, so that motivation that was propelling you forward takes a time out, and until you realize that you need to take a moment to figure things out, that motivation won't come back.

So then it was time for me to take a break, from all things, and I did... I literally stopped posting blogs, photo uploads to my 52 week challenge, reading my books, even at work I was approaching things with a just get it done because there's a deadline, not because I wanted to complete them well.  I'm not super proud of this mental break, but it is what it is, and now it's time to put my thinking cap on and move forward.

Because I don't want to give up, even though it may be easy to crawl into bed and go to sleep and only move through the motions of the day, I have plans, dreams and the only way I can accomplish these dreams I have to work on them! Do THEM!
The biggest thing I have realized is that I have to be an agent of change, I read that phrase in Stephen Covey's The 7 habits of Highly Effective People and it rang true with me.  Over the past few months I have been researching a Servant Leadership, a style of leadership which is modelled after Jesus' form of Leadership.  It's not a soft Leadership style, but a style that is centered on principles and values that honour and respect people and their contributions. I started by reading one book, then I read another and another and I have been doing a lot of reflection and working to incorporate it into my own life, work, home, all aspects.  I think that's where the break came from, I needed to let the information processes in my head, let the ideas sink in before I could proceed further.

This blog has always been a place where I have put my modest ramblings, sometimes people read them, other times they don't, but it's also a place I can go back to and reflect on what I have written, so now it's going to be a place where I set out my journey, the changes I am implementing into my life. What's going to happen is I will document the books I'm reading and how I am taking those readings and suggestions and putting them to practice.  I don't think everyone should do this with me, but if you are so inclined, I hope my path will help you as well... or if not and you choose to read my posts that you garner some type of entertainment from it.

I will still post some of the fun things I do with the boys and my hubby, but I'm going to again refocus my blog.... but it is my journey..... to reaching my dreams!