Saturday, March 8, 2008

Government and Servant Leadership


Robert Greenleaf provides a fantastic test for servant leadership:

"Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged of society; will he or she benefit, or, at least, will he or she not be further deprived?" ("The Servant as Leader," 1991, p. 7).

As I ponder the election season before us, I am looking for a candidate who can somehow espouse these values in a practical political platform. But perhaps I am asking too much. Is it even possible that a large institution (in this case, the federal government) can effectively (1) facilitate a society that encourages freedom, (2) provide incentives for us to serve each other, and (3) ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not left to fend for themselves?

Hopefully this election season will answer that question affirmatively.

IDEA LEADER: What does servant leadership look like in a political candidate? Which candidate best represents these values?

Photo: Sanja Gjenero

2 comments:

Ken said...

I guess the real question becomes how do we define "practical"? Does this mean we must all agree in some fashion that a platform of practical politics can exist? In so many ways all leaders serve -- that is they serve the purpose to bring clarity and focus to a public that is often at the edge.

By the way, I enjoyed the blog. Take a second and check out www.generationforwardexperience.blogspot.com and post a thought or two. It would be great to have you share your voice. Peace, man.

Stan said...

Perhaps "practical" is a poorly chosen term. To some extent all politics is practical because it involves getting things done (though its effectiveness at getting things done is often debatable).

You are correct that (good) leaders bring clarity and focus. That's why the use of ambiguity as a political tactic might be good politics, but it is bad leadership.