LEARNING BY THE WATER-COOLER: Episode 11


LEARNING is everything and everything is learning.


“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.”


Those words came from John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States of America; a lawyer and diarist who held the office from 1825 to 1829.


You can recognize wisdom when the author’s words still ring true almost 200 years after they were first penned.


Leadership. The concept of how to lead effectively has never been so sharply in focus as it is now. The decisions of clinicians, executives, and politicians from the dawning of the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted every one of us heavily.


As some begin to see a glimpse of the road map that will lead us out of this crisis, how we guide and steer those in our charge will be ever more crucial. A dear friend of mine is a soccer coach. He’s a big believer in the idea of the Servant Leader. He feels we need to focus more on working with others towards a common goal, and far less on a singular result. He has personally referred to this mindset change as transformational.


When we’ve debated this adaptation in his outlook on leadership, I’ve had fun with him. Why? Well, firstly we’re buddies and it’s what we do. Secondly, one of his obsessions is the once legendary American football coach, Vince Lombardi. Arguably, Mr. Lombardi’s most famous quote was:


“Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”


“You see the rub - right, Coach? How do you go from Lombardi to serving others, all while still achieving the goals set by the business?”


His response:


“You grow. You evolve. You consider other perspectives.”


The 10 Principles of Servant Leadership


The 10 principles of servant leadership are:

1. LISTENING: Identify and clarify the will of the group

2. EMPATHY: Understand others and their problems

3. HEALING: If relationships are broken, fix them

4. AWARENESS: Know the feelings, strengths and weaknesses of those around you

5. PERSUASION: Not a dark art, but the skill of convincing others to build consensus

6. CONCEPTUALIZATION: Move away from always homing in on what needs to be done today to start thinking at times: “where could we be five years from now?”

7. FORESIGHT: Learn from the past, think of the consequences of the decisions you are about to make

8. STEWARDSHIP: Take responsibility for the planning and management resources of the group

9. COMMITMENT TO THE GROWTH OF PEOPLE: Not just educational, but personal and spiritual too

10. BUILDING COMMUNITY: Your team can go for their goals and your business accomplishes its goals by building a feeling of community while inspiring and helping others where you live and work


Do you believe in the principles of servant leadership?

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