Let’s review some of the historical stories I dug up now and think more deeply about them and relate them to DIB work today.
For instance, how on earth was the beating of a woman associated with ensuring her ability to reproduce other human beings? As leaders, sometimes we confuse the breaking-down of someone with “constructive criticism” as the making of someone into a more “productive” employee. But that is hardly the case. There are years of research projects done by psychologists that demonstrate that “breaking someone” or “beating someone down” may have very short-term results, but that the underlying and longer-term result is lack of trust, lack of safety in that environment and the kind of “quiet quitting” that we’ve seen recently. Is that the kind of workplace we want? That’s going to cost time, money, energy and people’s well-being, all of which will impact the bottom line of true healthy productivity?
Or what was the benefit in making a prisoner out of St. Valentine who was trying to do good to other human beings? Sometimes servant leaders are mistaken for weak leaders and that couldn’t be farther from the truth when we consider that the very definition of a servant leader implies putting others first.
Five Characteristics of Servant Leadership (https://www.ottawa.edu/online-and-evening/blog/march-2021/5-proven-characteristics-of-a-servant-leader)
To be effective, it is smart to know the characteristics of a leader:
Listening - listen receptively and nonjudgmentally. They are much more interested in hearing the viewpoints of others than having their voice be the loudest in the room. Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.
Appreciation - value people and appreciate them for who they are, not just for what they give to the organization. They are committed first and foremost to their people.
Humility - put other people first. They are humble. They know leadership is not all about them—things are accomplished through others.
Trust - give trust to others. They willingly take this risk for the people they serve. They are trusted because they are authentic and dependable.
Caring - have people and purpose in their hearts. They display kindness and concern for others. They are here to serve, not to be served. They truly care for the people they serve.
There is a mountain of statistical evidence linked to the proven effectiveness of leaders who have mastered the above traits. Yet many managers are experiencing unprecedented leadership failures. The essence has more to do with who you are and how you treat others. The position or title is secondary. Research suggests that managers who focus on service to others are more successful than those who do not.