These guides are a collection of over 30 years of research growing servant leadership in business, education, health care, and government organizations. Each module (approximately 45-90 minutes in length) is designed to be taught alone or in a sequence with other modules. A facilitator’s guide provides directions for an interactive learning approach to engage participants as they connect servant leadership to their life and work. Modules are available in Learning Notebooks sold as a set. Each Learning Notebook includes four modules.
Available from TMCA for $149 per notebook
In this series of modules, you will learn the “What?” “Who?” “Why?” and “How?” of servant leadership. For those who wonder whether servant leadership is a fad, you will hear from the man who coined the term for business practices, Robert K. Greenleaf. Greenleaf wrote with a profound depth of thinking and lived his life with that same thoughtfulness. You will be encouraged to consider your life as a “calling,” a notion previously limited to those in religious vocations. And you will be challenged to grow beyond the typical dependent/independent model of relating into INTERdependence.
Defining Servant Leadership
When you ask most people about the individuals who have had the biggest influence on them, they usually tell heartwarming stories of those who helped them, supported them in tough times, believed in their potential, and were humble in their dealings. There is a model of leadership that reflects these types of qualities. In this module, we begin to define the concept of servant leadership. (Approx. 47 min.)
- Get a beginning understanding of the term “servant leadership”.Be able to contrast the leadership traits of non-servants vs. servant-leaders.
- Recall leaders who have positively influenced you with their servant leadership skills.
Robert Greenleaf’s Work And Writings
Robert K. Greenleaf, in contemporary times, is considered the originator of servant leadership in business and academic circles. This module looks at his works and writings. (Approx. 55 min.)
- Know about Robert K. Greenleaf and the contemporary origins of servant leadership.
- Be able to contrast the leadership traits of non-servants vs. servant-leaders.
- Assess your own servant leadership abilities.
Servant Leadership is a deeply personal journey in which ordinary people find the courage to live extraordinary lives. This entails an exploration of the spiritual dimension of work. When we begin to view work as more than just a means to a paycheck, it can become a “calling.” Someone has said that “calling” is that path where “our greatest joy meets the world’s greatest need.” That is our challenge and our reward. In this module we will begin to help participants discover their path to the extraordinary life they deserve. (Approx. 90 min.)
- To begin exploring the paradigm of “work as calling” as a means of clarifying our purpose as servant-leaders.
- To reconnect with dreams, desires for the future, and identify one way to bridge the gap between present reality and your vision.
- To begin journaling, find a mentor, or plan a vision quest for the near future.
Have you ever been on a project or in a job where someone said, “it’s not my fault, nobody told me”? Or have you ever made the statement, “I’d rather do it myself and make sure it gets done right”? Teams go through a maturing process just as children do growing up. This module looks at how servant-leaders can provide maturity of leadership to teams. (Approx. 60 min.)
- To understand the link between servant leadership and INTERdependent teaming behaviors.
- To know how to apply INTERdependence/collaboration to daily business activities.
- To assess how many servant-leader behaviors are a part of my leadership and which behaviors I need to improve.
Skills & Processes
Can servant leadership be taught or does it just occur naturally in some people? While there are a few natural servant-leaders, most of us must do work purposely to acquire the skills and attitude to serve. We believe that there are specific servant leadership competencies to be learned and practiced, just as there are skills in accounting, law, or engineering. We have created activities to underscore the qualities of a servant-leader. In this collection, you will find modules that will give a way to experience and practice listening skills, grow team intelligence, simulate work project challenges, and tell stories. Through taking part in and debriefing these activities, participants can gain an understanding of the behaviors needed to acquire skills of a servant-leader.
Research tells us that 85% of what we know we have learned by listening. At the same time studies show that we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful 75% of the time we are listening. Robert Greenleaf had much to say about the importance of listening. He felt that it was one of the traits that distinguished servants from non-servants. Active listening is a skill that can be acquired through practice and discipline. In this module, participants assess their own listening skills, practice active listening, and then apply skills to their organizations. (Approx. 60-90 min.)
- To understand the link between listening and servant leadership.
- To learn the skills of active listening.
- To debrief the process and learn where listening can be improved in your organization.
Since the dawn of civilization, knowledge and culture have been passed on through example, ritual, and storytelling. In our visual culture, the impact of the spoken word has been muted, though not silenced. Stories are one of the oldest, most universal mediums for learning. And servant leadership has integrity only to the degree that it begins within the lives of each one of us – with our stories. In this unit, we want to focus on the power of stories to change lives and develop mature servant-leaders. (Approx. 85 min.)
- To reconnect with the value of stories throughout history and in our own lives.
- To help each participant tap into their own story and express it to others.
- To encourage participants to recall and tell inspiring stories of servant leadership within their organization, school, or community.
Teaming Project Simulation
One of the best ways to understand servant leadership is to experience it or practice it. Work gets more complicated when there are deadlines, time pressures, and expectations of high quality and results. It is during these times that we tend to revert to non-servant leadership behaviors. This module looks at how we interact with one another in the midst of accomplishing work. (Approx. 51 min.)
- To apply servant leadership skills to a team project which has materials, time, and people limitations.
- To provide an opportunity to practice engaging and integrating the gifts of all team members.
- To debrief the process and learn where servant leadership becomes a challenge “in the heat of battle.”
One of the distinguishing characteristics of servant leadership is the realization that others have wisdom and insights that can add value to the leader’s perspectives and decisions. The servant-leader believes that “together we can create something much better than either one of us could have created alone.” In this module participants will have the opportunity to experience an activity demonstrating this type of collaboration. (Approx. 90 min.)
- To define team intelligence and understand the link to servant leadership.
- To debrief the process and learn where team intelligence is at risk in your organization.
It is essential for the servant-leader to model and encourage life/work balance. People are not machines; longer work hours do not translate to a higher productivity.
In fact, when people overwork, the result is an increase in errors, less alertness, and diminishing judgment, creativity, and intuition. Because a leader’s habits and practices are contagious, the negative impact of imbalance multiplies by the number of people influenced.
On the other hand, by putting a high value on taking responsibility for creating and maintaining life/work balance, individuals and teams can achieve astounding results. Learning to stay centered and living from a place of balance is the foundation for mutual trust and servant leadership.
Because servant-leaders care so deeply about helping others grow, they become prime candidates for burnout. We know that life/work balance is difficult to maintain. This module will help you identify individual burnout symptoms and give you the keys to developing a plan that will address the elements of life/work balance. (Approx. 64 min.)
- To identify personal symptoms of burnout.
- To assess areas of burnout vulnerability.
- To create a plan for addressing the different elements of life/work balance.
In the constant demand for increasing speed, growth, and productivity, one could easily believe that there is no time to slow down and grow trust, people, and teamwork. Yet, with no end in sight around increasing expectations, is there any other viable way to succeed in this business and cultural climate without falling victim to fear, burnout, and despair? In this module, we examine the dysfunction of hurry sickness, explore how it can be at odds with servant leadership, and address how a servant-leader can responsibly address the constant need for speed. (Approx. 75-115 min.)
- To define hurry sickness, a current dysfunction that is epidemic today, and raise awareness of classic symptoms.
- To learn several potential alternatives to hurry sickness.
Growing A Community Of Trust
Building community is about building trust. Wendell Berry reminds us that “…when a community loses its memory, its members no longer know one another. How can they know one another if they have forgotten or never learned one another’s stories? If they do not know one another’s stories, how can they know whether or not to trust one another? People who do not trust one another do not help each other, and moreover they fear one another.”
In this module, we will learn some fun and effective ways to begin to develop prolonged trust within our communities. (Approx. 90 min., includes a DVD of a Southwest Airlines Heroes of the Heart Celebration)
- To understand the link between servant leadership and creating community based on shared trust.
- To create several simple ways of celebrating the daily successes of co-workers.
- To experience the fun of getting to know others at a deeper level.
- To learn several easy ways to plan fun into your schedule to keep balance and build community.
One of the biggest surprises in our research on preventing burnout was the importance of play. We learned this can be a challenge for busy adults to schedule. Do you remember how to play? Do you allow yourself to be a kid? In this module we will help you re-discover the energy of childhood and link play, renewal, and energy to servant leadership. (Approx. 90 min.)
- To understand the link between play, renewal, energy, and being an effective servant-leader.
- To rediscover the joy and energy of childhood.
- To generate ways to renew yourself in many different time increments.