My former career was in the pressure cooker of Health Care. It was a minefield. Positive individual care was a priority while staying within budget. Staff rights were balanced with responsibility and integrity while Board members’ demands often contrasted a union agreement. The job required the strategic thinking of Winston Churchill, the negotiating skills of Henry Kissinger and the leadership ability of Peter Drucker.
My leadership training was similar to other CEO’s. We were taught to hire, hold accountable, counsel, discipline and terminate. We planned strategically, set achievable goals, organized and re-engineered. We set visions to ensure every client was a valued customer while upholding the guiding principles written on the sleeves of our sweatshirts. We designed seamless services. We thought inside and outside the box and pretended the box didn’t exist. I’ve been taught, Maslow and his Hierarchy of needs, Lewin’s Democratic, Autocratic and Laissez-faire styles. I’ve used Blake & Moulton on the managerial grid and Tannenbaum & Schmidt on the use of Authority and Freedom. I’ve been surveyed by Hersey & Blanchard and have worked with Theory X, Y and Z. I’ve read The One Minute Manager and Who Moved my Cheese. The corporate work force taught me a lot. I’m grateful and very thankful. However, secular leadership is often designed to fill a toolbox with skills to motivate and manipulate others to achieve predetermined goals.
The secular world didn’t teach me to follow, serve and live a life completely transformed by the mind of Christ. I wasn’t taught to see my leadership role as God’s chosen servant with a love for my staff, Board and competitors. The role of a servant or slave set free and turned into a disciple is not taught in secular business schools.
As a Christian Servant Leader, I strive to integrate my spiritual values on the job. God created me, “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27). He pre-wired skills, abilities and gifts before my birth. Jeremiah illustrates, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jeremiah 1:5) or as David said, “you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). God directed Servant Leadership is a transformed life of serving, giving and living the life Christ demonstrated for us.
Leadership is integrating and demonstrating God’s values and principles into our daily lives. It is my prayer that our Lord will guide you and me to be completely transformed to his image and to a leadership style that puts Christ and His service first.
What values drive your decisions?
Yours in Service,
Laurie D. Kennedy