Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Servant Leadership Practice--Join Another Clique

Ever since grade school, we find it very easy to sit with our friends at lunch. We hang out with other people like us--be it in terms of intellect, athletic ability (or inability), values, life style, dress code, vocabulary and slang usage, etc. No matter how old we get, this is hard to change. We and our employees tend to work and socialize in cliques.

I used to get anxious about company events. I'd have to mingle with people who think certain activities are really important, while I think they're a waste of time--the activities, not the people. I'd have to appear interested, nodding and "uh-huh"-ing to be polite. This was true with executives who wanted to talk about certain golf courses and the latest club technology as it was with some hourly employees who thought the highlight of the week was discovering the latest racy joke or gossip tidbit at the bar on Friday night.

Everyone is valuable. Everyone is interesting. I learned a lot by engaging with people beyond the pleasantries. I learned that they're interested in doing good work, making sure their families are doing well, and having fun in their own way. Everyone would rather laugh than cry. I learned they're frustrated by many of the same things I am. I learned to appreciate them all, in all of their diversity.

I will never fit in with all the groups. However, my acceptance of them goes a long way towards them accepting me. And opening dialogue channels about work issues. At first, they're quiet about those things. Just my presence can alter the conversational path. With enough time, they will feel more open as I honestly acknowledge what they think and feel.

Today, mingle with a different group than you normally do. Listen. Don't try too hard to fit in. Just accept what they want and need to discuss.

For C12 and Truth@Work members, in a letter, John warns us that if we hate our brother/sister or anyone that we see, we cannot love God whom we can't see. Our love (acceptance, service, openness, etc.) towards others is an indication of our love for God. If we are apathetic towards anyone, if we are hesitant to appreciate someone else, then we are not in God's light.

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