Servant Leadership

A few posts ago I told about a talk I heard on servant leadership. Today I saw it in action. While working in an elementary office this morning, the music teacher asked me to cut out these giant nautical wheels, nine in all. I was thinking after completing the first one, the other eight were going to take me all day if I even finished. But while starting the third, I stepped away from my desk and came back to see a third completely cut out with the other two. The principal, seeing the time intesive work I was doing helped me cut them one by one. It took us a while to do it but we finished them all in the early afternoon. Most principals don't even see the substitutes, some, along with vice-principals, will say thank you for coming. One even offered to let me keep my things in her office. But I have never, in all my time substituting, met one who helped me do my job. Substitutes often get the menial tasks, things adminstrators never do. I commented on this to the other lady in the office, who had also been very kind, and she confirmed my observation, the principal helped out wherever he was needed, even if that included emptying the trash cans. Many leaders feel they are above such things and they think that gives them power. But I have been learning what gives things like power, freedom, and life are quite different than I have believed. In fact, they are often quite the opposit. True leadership is among equals, an acknowledgement of every soul's worth, and a willingness to walk with them. That is true power.

365-09 #142

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Walking the Sea: Servant Leadership

Friday, May 22, 2009

Servant Leadership

A few posts ago I told about a talk I heard on servant leadership. Today I saw it in action. While working in an elementary office this morning, the music teacher asked me to cut out these giant nautical wheels, nine in all. I was thinking after completing the first one, the other eight were going to take me all day if I even finished. But while starting the third, I stepped away from my desk and came back to see a third completely cut out with the other two. The principal, seeing the time intesive work I was doing helped me cut them one by one. It took us a while to do it but we finished them all in the early afternoon. Most principals don't even see the substitutes, some, along with vice-principals, will say thank you for coming. One even offered to let me keep my things in her office. But I have never, in all my time substituting, met one who helped me do my job. Substitutes often get the menial tasks, things adminstrators never do. I commented on this to the other lady in the office, who had also been very kind, and she confirmed my observation, the principal helped out wherever he was needed, even if that included emptying the trash cans. Many leaders feel they are above such things and they think that gives them power. But I have been learning what gives things like power, freedom, and life are quite different than I have believed. In fact, they are often quite the opposit. True leadership is among equals, an acknowledgement of every soul's worth, and a willingness to walk with them. That is true power.

365-09 #142

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2 Comments:

At May 25, 2009 at 11:53 AM , Blogger Tom Smith said...

I very much appreciated this post. As a Friends School administrator in a number of schools, it always surprised and amazed me that many administrators see themselves "above" the work they expect others to do. As a teacher I learned early on (or maybe it was the "teaching" that I received from my parents who although were usually in an "administrative" position felt that it was important to do whatever needed to be done and nothing was "beneath" them) that two of the groups I needed to show appreciation for and assistance to were the "secretary" and "custodian." There were work was essential and usually "overlooked." It almost seemed like others "deliberately" left things to be done that they could/should have done much more easily and quickly if they were taken care of immediately.

As an administrator I closely identified with the servant leadership model and find it to be the model that seems to best fit being "Christian."

 
At May 27, 2009 at 6:51 AM , Blogger Sarah Katreen Hoggatt said...

I understand what you are saying. Some of the people who have touched me the most as I've subbed are those higher up who take the time to be kind and helpful.

 

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