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Thinking about leadership

January 20, 2010

This is the first year I have ever made any New Year’s Resolutions and actually carried them out.  We went to visit Helene’s team over at Columbus Metropolitan Library last week; and while I was there, I was thinking about how to be thought of as a leader, but came back thinking about the kind of leader I want to be.  There is a big difference between the two.  I had been feeling disappointed that people were not seeking me out as a resource in the library, but after digesting everything for a while, I remembered that I cannot change others’ behavior, only my own.

I returned my attention to a concept I had read about last year, servant leadership.  To understand this idea, think of this ancient concept of the Good King.

“the king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]” “the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.”

The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware. Next comes one whom they love and praise. Next comes one whom they fear. Next comes one whom they despise and defy. When you are lacking in faith, Others will be unfaithful to you. The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words. When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, All the people say, ‘We ourselves have achieved it!’

While I am not a king, I can certainly follow these leadership ideas.  I am attracted to these qualities of the good king:

  • fosters
  • serves others
  • supports
  • encourages
  • listens
  • empathy
  • healing
  • awareness
  • persuasion
  • conceptualizes
  • uses foresight
  • stewardship
  • builds community
  • committed to growth of others
  • trustworthy
  • self-aware
  • humble
  • caring
  • visionary
  • empowering
  • competent
  • communicator
  • compassionate collaborator
  • systems thinker
  • unleashes the energy and intelligence of others

So I am trying to consciously think about these qualities in my behavior and work.  I hope to let you know how it’s going, but remind myself, it’s a journey!

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