Saturday, May 21, 2011

generations and @greenleafcenter

the servant as leader ... in our last class on may 7, i was pleasantly surprised about the thoughts that came to mind. and as shared in the may 7 post, i believe my friend jengyee is a spirit carrier ... and with the context of generations - my being gen X and jengyee being gen Y.

greenleaf and generations ... although there is not an explicit and lengthy discussion about generations and servant-leader attributes, on this past friday morning, i thought about servant-leader within the context of the panel i was involved this past wednesday.

gen x ... i represented a "gen X" perspective of interacting with other generations. the gen Y representative presented a list of 5 lessons learned she experienced as a gen Y interacting with baby boomers and a list of 3 gen Y suggestions she wanted to communicate to baby boomers when interacting with gen Y. on the panel, i didn't quite story about gen X versus other generations, but i did find my thoughts evolved from my wednesday morning prep. on friday morning, here is what i shared via our class wiki as part of my thoughts about generations and servant-leader attributes ...

just a quick share and not necessarily directly related to our june class reading, but maybe, kind of.

10 characteristics and the generations ... the short version is that i have been thinking of the 10 characteristics within the context of multi-generational/cross-generational communications - within the context of diversity. i am not yet sure where my thoughts will lead me, but i do know i am intrigued by pursuing an opportunity to communicate the simplicity of these characteristics as not being more prevalent in one generation over another. the 10 characteristics can (and do) exist among the diverse population. needless to say, this is obvious, but i feel there can be a way to integrate or infuse this as part of existing and familiar formats and context.

how this thought came up? ... on wednesday, i was part of a small panel of cubeopolis folks encouraged to share 1-2 stories about their interactions with another generation. the hosting group was the "older workforce initiative". my thoughts in process the morning of over here as i was trying to organize my 10 minute presentation.

although i intend to post what i finally presented, the gist of it was as follows - interacting with different generations gives an opportunity to further enhance one's life experience. the question i posed (also on the blog post) was as follows:

"GENERATIONS ... We are surrounded by the wisdom of generations, but sometimes we lose sight of generations' gifts. What moment during the past 6 months might you have lost sight and had a bias and expectation of someone in a different generation? Consider within the next 6 months initiating an experience of acceptance and discovery of a generation's gift.
my main message of my presentation went something like this - - - we can live in a comfortable place of bias and expectation when communicating with people, or we can choose to have a transforming experience when we engage in listening. as such, we can challenge ourselves to live in a place of acceptance and discovery.

generation bent ... what i found interesting was that other panelists expressly described their generation in certain terms, as if they "owned" the characteristics more so than other generations. and i remember having an "ah ha" moment during the panel when one of the generations used characteristics that were part of the 10 characteristics.

and not that i'm saying one generation may have more 'servant-leader' potential than another. but given the context (and to some extent bias) that some may have regarding generation differences, i certainly heard this (via the characteristics and traits described) intimated through other panelists and through audience discussion and questions.

i think it would be great to articulate the timeless aspect of being a servant-leader ... i know it's likely obvious to our class and others, however, expressly stating so would be great. perhaps that will be something i write out on my blog or part of the final paper?!
saturday morning mini ah-ha ... as i was reading our next assignment, i remembered there was somewhat of a generation reference, which i was certain i had book dart'd, in the servant as leader, so i revisited the book and found the following -
an older person who grew up in a period when values were more settled and the future seemed more secure will be disturbed by much he finds today. ... firm note of hope .. we are at a turn of history in which people are growing faster and some extraordinarily able, mature, servant-disposed men and women are emerging in their early and middle twenties. (p. 47)
book dart me quotes i ponder ... i made good use of my book darts. i figure i'd share a few quotes (which i shared with class) that resonated with me and/or continues to make me ponder, and perhaps, you will consider picking up the book the servant as leader, as well. i share a few of them here (while i shared a longer list on the class wiki) -
  • "faith is the choice of the nobler hypothesis" quoting dean inge ... not the noblest, one never knows what that is. but the nobler, the best one can see when the choice is made.
  • the servant-leader is servant first ... the leader-first and servant-first are two extreme types ... the difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served.
  • every achievement starts with a goal. but not just any goal and not just anybody stating it. the one who states the goal must elicit trust, especially if it is a high risk or visionary goal, because those who follow are asked to accept the risk along with the leader.
  • the best test of whether we are communicating at this depth is to ask ourselves, first, are we really listening? are we listening to the one we want to communicate to? is our basic attitude, as we approach confrontation, one of wanting to understand?
  • the leader needs two intellectual abilities that are usually not formally assessed in an academic way: he needs to have a sense for the unknowable and be able to foresee the unforeseeable.
  • there is usually an information gap ... the art of leadership rests, in part, on the ability to bridge that gap by intuition, that is, a judgment from the unconscious process.
  • awareness is not a giver of solace - it is just the opposite. it is a disturber and an awakener. able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. they are not seekers after solace. they have their own inner serenity.
  • (on the privileged elite) it may be that the best that some of today's privileged can do is to stand aside and serve by helping when asked and as instructed.
  • evil, stupidity, apathy, the "system" are not the enemy even though society building forces will be contending with them all the time. the healthy society, like the healthy body, is not the one that has taken the most medicine. it is the one in which the internal health building forces are in the best shape.
  • in short, the enemy is strong natural servants who have the potential to lead but do not lead, or who choose to follow a non-servant.
and once again ...

all of this rests on the assumption that
the only way to change a society (or just make it go)
is to produce people, enough people,
who will change it (or make it go).

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