Servant Leadership

There are a multitude of various leadership styles from the tactful diplomatic leader to the crude, demanding autocratic leader. There are many moments in life we are presented with the opportunity to not only change the course of our life’s path, but enter into the decision of which leadership style to employ rife with cognitive dissonance and ambivalence. One should be at peace with their ultimate leadership style decision and retain consistency aligned with their personal mission and values.

We have each been blessed with unique, diverse talents and gifts to complete a mission of serving others. The fact that we experience pleasure, an almost euphoric state, from assisting others and vicariously experiencing their resulting successes is not a mere coincidence. Furthermore, some of the highest performing teams in corporations are not comprised of a monolithic landscape of indoctrinated “yes” men/women, which are seen as agreeable in placating the decision-making processes of involved individuals.¬† Note that I mention the dichotomy between the “yes” men/women and “individuals,” since individuals are exemplified by unique personal traits. The individuals realize the efficacy of discussions that consist of diverse perspectives and ideas to spur innovation.

We must allow our individuality to flourish to encapsulate the many dimensions of our personality and fulfill the ideal of servant leadership. Bill Gates is an impeccable example of servant leadership through his multiple philanthropic efforts; however, his tendency toward altruistic service toward others was readily apparent before world-leading wealth accumulation. Gates was focused on his purpose in life, and ardently pursued the development of modern-day computing to include intuitive software programs that are still transforming our hyper-connected society today. Gates understood that wealth served many purposes aside from easing life’s woes, as his monetary gifts support the most important facet of society: educating, and thereby engendering, individuals to grow, develop, and revise their sometimes deplorable living circumstances.

I recently read an article that discusses the City of Oakland experiencing a $9 mm budget shortfall in their educational system. While this instance could be rectified through donations from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation:

  1. The issue is widespread and systemic in impoverished or nearly impoverished areas. A robust solution is required to stem proliferation of a declining and societal detachment observed in areas with either failing industries or lacking employment opportunities in general.
  2. The introduction of opportunities to further one’s improvement teaches self-reliance and self-sufficiency. This dynamic is nonexistent when assistance is merely provided with no stipulations or contingencies regarding improved performance for the disbursement of funds.

This occurrence is not isolated, while it is especially prevalent in the budget constrained state of Illinois with a particular emphasis on Chicago. A group of charter schools in Chicago, The Noble Network, has attempted to curb increasing crime and poverty resulting from dilapidated buildings, lacking classroom technology, and ineffectively high student:teacher ratios. I laud charter schools in their efforts to introduce competition into the educational marketplace by allowing students and their families to choose the appropriate educational institution for instruction.

The downfall of education is one such example of a society mired in unconscious discrimination that strays from a utopic equality. I believe we are provided different, yet advantageous, effectual, and impactful gifts, which are augmented through the synergy inherent in neurodiverse groups. We are tasked with the decision to utilize our gifts to further God’s kingdom on Earth. What small steps will you take toward serving others in your peer group, common trade/association group, organization, community, society, and even strangers? Start small and see how your contributions will grow over time.

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