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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Transforming The Leadership Paradigm

Imagine a world where all individuals are empowered to develop their full potential. Imagine the strength of an organization that is able to tap into the intellectual capacity, resourcefulness and creativity of its entire workforce. Imagine the employees who are embraced for their innate talents and unique gifts – producing quality results with a profound sense of fulfillment. Imagine these possibilities in your organization and in your life.

Today, people and organizations are being pushed to perform. There are increasing competitive demands for productivity and growth. Leaders are being called upon to guide and inspire their teams to achieve desired results. Effective communication, collaborative teamwork and quality leadership have never been more important.

In response to the critical demand to develop effective leaders, a variety of leadership approaches have been proposed and popularized. Well-known authors and leadership experts such as Peter Senge, Ken Blanchard, Jim Collins and Stephen Covey have offered their own strategies and tools for developing leaders who inspire and empower others to be their best.

All of these contemporary leadership authors identify essential competencies that an individual should possess and practice to be an effective leader. These attributes are vital if one is to become an authentic, strategic, collaborative and visionary leader. Furthermore, many of these prominent leadership approaches are synergistically aligned with the leadership philosophy conceived of by Robert Greenleaf, a retired AT&T executive, in his essay “The Servant as Leader. “

His paradoxical term, Servant Leader, has created a quiet revolution and a paradigm shift in management philosophy during the past thirty years. Written in 1970, Greenleaf’s thesis highlights characteristics of a leader who successfully serves the needs of others. Upon close examination, the same attributes that Greenleaf espouses are either explicitly or implicitly present in today’s most popular leadership training methodologies.

Servant Leadership draws its strength from Greenleaf’s premise that “the first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one’s capacity to lead is severely limited.” Inherent in this model is the belief that these leaders possess certain quintessential human traits, such as awareness, listening, empathy, and a commitment to the growth of people.

The focus is clearly on serving the needs of others. Leaders who possess these qualities have the ability to recognize the intrinsic value and unique talents of other individuals. Their capacity to affirm other people’s self-worth is what initiates growth and unleashes potential.

For more information visit The Greenleaf Center.

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