Thursday, April 21, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Inside Out

The three-martini lunch is gone in most circles (maybe all?). Rightfully so, it's not good to be intoxicated at work while trying to make decisions that affect a lot of people. Likewise, we need to be clear-minded. Unfortunately, there are many ways we aren't.

We can be intoxicated with our own abilities. We can be so full of ourselves that we ignore what's really going on and like a drunk driver, not realize that we're veering into the wrong lane. We can numb ourselves from failure by covering up any mistakes in a variety of ways: defensiveness, recklessness, analysis paralysis, blaming others, driving ourselves without taking care of ourselves in terms of eating, exercise and sleep, etc. The means of feeling numb are as varied as we are individuals.

Another axiom is that we often imitate the people we're around. It's easy to pick up a different accent when you live in a different region of the world. You start saying words the way others say them. I once caught myself imitating a boss in the way that he scratches his chin.

One of the rules for seeing change in others is to make a change ourselves. As we become better role models, others will follow and imitate us. In order to do that, we need to be honest with ourselves--about our motives, our capabilities, our inabilities, our emotional responses, our intuition, our values, our need for help, our failures, etc.

If your organization is struggling, maybe it's because you're struggling. If you want to see better success within the organization, you need to be an exemplar for that success.

Today, look for the obstacles to your success. Ask for feedback on how you might not be open to what's really going on.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, one of two questions that Dr. Larry Crabb asks in Inside Out: "Can anyone love me as I really am--self-centered, self-deceived, self-righteous?" He encourages us to feel the deepest longings, not be afraid of sadness or brokenness and face the hidden sins that make us thoroughly undelightful. Only then will we find the well of living water, quench our thirst and live in God's grace when Christ comes to change us from the inside out. Filled with the Spirit, we will exhibit the fruit of love, joy, peace, self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness and faithfulness. (Gal 5.22)

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