Servant Leadership: The New Paradigm

We’re all familiar with the model of the traditional organization. The CEO sits atop the pyramid, followed by the vice presidents, managers, supervisors, and then the employees. At the bottom are the customers. It’s almost as if the customer is there to serve needs of organization.

But what if we invert this pyramid and put the customer on top? After all, isn’t it the customers who make paydays possible? If we invert the pyramid, the customers are on top – followed by the employees, supervisors, managers, vice presidents, and followed by the CEO at the bottom.

In the traditional pyramid, those on the bottom focus on meeting the needs of those on the next rung. Employees try to meet the needs of their supervisors. Supervisors try to meet the needs of their managers, etc., all the way to vice presidents trying to please the CEO. The customers somehow are lost in this process.

IMG_1914If you invert the pyramid and put the CEO at the bottom and the customer on top, you’ve inverted the relationship. The CEO must focus on meeting the needs of the vice presidents, the needs of the managers, etc. all the way through the employees on meeting the needs of the customers.

If you proposed this idea in your organization, you’re likely to hear the question – “Who came up with this crazy idea?”

The answer is Robert Greenleaf and the leadership model is Servant Leadership.

Greenleaf came up with the idea of Servant Leadership after reading Hermann Hesse’s book Journey to the East, the story of a mountainous expedition that fell apart when Leo, one of the servants to the group, disappeared. Greenleaf realized that although everyone thought of Leo as a servant, he was actually leading the expedition through his actions.

The core premise of Servant Leadership is that organizations function best when leaders focus not on having their needs met, but focus on meeting the legitimate needs of others. The CEO should not ask “what do I need done today?” But rather, “what can I do today to help others do their jobs” and ultimately serve the customer.

By focusing on the needs of others, a servant leader becomes a servant first. The servant leader does not rely on formal authority; the ability to dictate and command what others are to do. Rather, they lead through informal authority, creating a willingness on the part of others to follow voluntarily.

Leaders gain informal authority not through the organization chart, but through their actions; the willingness to focus on the legitimate needs of others and to do what must be done.

The servant leader then uses this informal authority to get others to work enthusiastically toward the goals of the organization. A servant example, not fiat.

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About the Author

William S. Hettinger, Ph.D., is an author, educator and consultant to educational institutions and corporations both large and small.

Dr. Hettinger is an expert in making the complex simple. In his teaching and consulting, he excels at taking in both complex concepts and technical material and translating them into simple, understandable language. As an educator, Dr. Hettinger has trained numerous students in leadership, research, communications, business and entrepreneurship. His latest book is Online Classes That Work! Discovering the Secrets to Teaching Online (2014, Effective E-Learning)

Aquinas Lecture: How Can We Talk about God Today?

Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. well known writer, lecturer, preacher and leader presented two lectures on July 8, 9 2014 at Albertus Magnus College.

Timothy is a member of the English Dominican Province and resides at Oxford. He studied at Blackfriars and St. John’s University in Oxford and Paris. From 1992 to 2001 Timothy served as Master of the Dominican Order. Visiting members of the Dominican Order on every continent gave Timothy a breadth of experience for his writing and lectures today.

IMG_5864The first lecture was entitled, “How Can We Talk about God Today?” This lecture spoke about the integrity of the human person who tries to see, hear, touch and speak through the lens of faith and how this perspective changes the person and impacts others. After the lecture Timothy engaged the participants in a lively dialogue.

The second lecture was entitled, “Teaching as an Act of Friendship”. This lecture drew on the connection between truth and the energy love provides in the pursuit of truth and building a relationship between teacher and student. Timothy reminded us of the need to center and focus on what we study and how this stance enhances the study of our students. “We need a contemplative quietness, just being there, whether with a novel or a molecule. We love things by letting them be, giving them space. So the challenge is to introduce your pupils to the tranquil love of things, letting them be, learning not to grab or grasp.”

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Following the lecture four faculty members: Robert Bourgeois, Jeremiah Coffey, Patricia Compagnone – Post and Deborah Frattini shared their perspectives on the lecture. Both Timothy and the responders then engaged the audience in further questions and comments.

 

After the lectures the Albertus Magnus College Bookstore sponsored a book signing for three of Timothy’s books: Take the Plunge, What Is the Point of Being Christian? and Why Go to Church?

Both of these lectures were made possible through the Marie Louise Bianchi’31 Fund which promotes Dominican and Aquinas studies.

Finish Your Educational Journey Here

Have you started your educational journey at a local community college? Are you looking to transition this journey to a four-year school? The New Dimensions program at Albertus Magnus is the place for you! With our easily accessible locations in East Hartford and New Haven, flexible class schedules, and dedicated staff, we are here to make the transition as smooth as possible for you.

Sonny Le, one of our current students in our New Dimensions Program at our East Hartford campus, shares his experience transitioning from a community college to Albertus Magnus College.

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What made you choose Albertus Magnus College/New Dimensions?

Sonny: Well, I currently work a full-time job and needed something that could fit into my busy schedule. The New Dimensions Program at Albertus Magnus College was highly recommended by my co-workers and I love the set-up of having class once a week, on one specific day, from 6 to 10 p.m.

What was your biggest concern about transferring?

Sonny: I had been out of school for a while! I knew I was rusty and was coming back to school to finish my degree as an older adult. I was nervous as to whether or not I could actually do it. Enrolling in the New Dimensions Program really alleviated my fears though, as I would soon find out that most of my classmates were in the same boat as me.

What stood out to you during the Admissions process?

Sonny: The admissions counselors were a tremendous help and were key to this process. As said above, I was nervous about coming back to school full-time and my admissions counselor was there every step of the way. They helped calm my nerves, and patiently walked me through the process of the New Dimensions Program, keeping in touch throughout the whole thing!

How could we have improved the transition for you?

Sonny: Honestly? Nothing. I know with working full-time, and having other commitments, that I was a little slower than I should have been with getting all my requirements completed. But, with all the support and guidance from my admissions counselor, we were able to get it completed on time, together.

What advice would you give to other students looking to transfer?

Sonny: Don’t be nervous! It’s a big step, but it is definitely worth it. I have been in class for about six months now and am 100% happy that I chose the New Dimensions Program at Albertus. The support there is tremendous, both in and out of the classroom and they believe in your success.

If you are interested in finding out more about our New Dimensions Program, click here to discover the program and register to an Open House!