I came across some old notes (1998) on Robert Greenleaf’s seminal book, SERVANT LEADERSHIP. As with many great books, the message is in the title/on the cover.
Greenleaf suggests a domain of leadership grounded in a state of being, not doing. He goes on to say “The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to SERVE … and being a leader has to do with the relationship between the leader and the led.”
SERVANT LEADERSHIP is a small pamphlet (only 37 pages long), but powerful.
“The essence of leadership is the desire to serve one another and to serve something beyond ourselves, a higher purpose.” – Robert Greenleaf
Note: Somehow, the idea of a leader’s job being to bear pain … not inflict it … came from SERVANT LEADERSHIP and one of my all-time favorite books, ONCE AN EAGLE, by Anton Myrer, an amazing book on ‘leadership’ as seen through the eyes of an army leader who rises from the ranks of Private in WWI to General in Vietnam.
As a leader, a parent or a coach … the idea of ‘servant’ and ‘serving’ seem to be more about bearing pain than inflicting it.
At a company meeting last March 1st (at Notre Dame), I had a chance to talk with the team about the whole Work-Life Balance thing.
To me, it has always been way more about INTEGRATION … rather than BALANCE.
For me, it was always about the entrepreneurial adventure and the integration of family and boxing and travel and good health.
Stew Friedman, who is a Wharton School Professor, has just come out with a new book called LEADING THE LIFE YOU WANT: SKILLS FOR INTEGRATING WORK AND LIFE.
I saw this post at Forbes from Dorie Clark and am just starting the book.
Two great teaser quotes:
“The people who are most successful in terms of having a significant IMPACT on the world are those who embrace others parts of their lives, rather than forsake them.”
“That was the big motivating idea: to cut through the common wisdom that you have to give up everything in order to be successful.”
I fought the work-life balance thing for a long time. ‘Balance‘ time with family, work, travel, working out, six weeks at Notre Dame, etc.
It finally dawned on me that having family members work with you in business, taking grandkids with you on trips, taking a mini-sabbatical at Notre Dame to coach allowed great time for writing and thinking, etc. or way more about INTEGRATION. Friedman talks about the term ‘work-life balance’ needs to be overhauled and the implication that we can (or should) appropriately balance our personal and professional lives all the time is faulty.
It’s probably worth ordering the book just to get the thinking behind this pretty big idea.
One last quote:
“The people who are most successful are those who figure out ways of bringing the different pieces together in ways that are mutually reinforcing.”