PPDGJ: Chapter 3 LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE A New Model for Higher Education in a New Century KENT A. FARNSWORTH

Chapter 3
Lessons from the Wisdom Traditions
Most leadership practices that are common in organizations today cannot last long. The world has become too small, too many Marshall McLuhan "global villages". This is a world where prosperity and poverty, authoritarianism and egalitarianism, isolationist views and the need to collaborate inevitably clash and that there must be greater opportunities to participate. Communism seems to fail as a solution, but top-down capitalism is also struggling, giving way to systems that have succeeded in entering greater inclusiveness and participation in leadership and organizational life.

If we consider the sign of great leadership to be a lasting influence, then the greatest leaders of all ages have become the founders of a lasting tradition of religion and philosophy, with hundreds of millions forming their thinking and living around the teachings.
The words below are simple, the effect is very large. Every Chinese child is weaned on the principles of Confucianism, and the teachings of the Kung Fu-Tzu Master remain the single most powerful formation influence on Chinese thought and action. Leaders in Western societies will also be well served to learn the principles of chun-tzu, li, and other Confucian concepts of right and true action thought. Much of the spirit of service-centered leadership is found in it.
…does not accept people because of what they say, nor reject sayings because
the speaker is what he is.
…is calm and at ease; the small person is fretful and ill at ease.
…does not grieve that other people do not recognize his merits. His only
anxiety is lest he should fail to recognize theirs.
…is ashamed to let his words outrun his deeds.
…takes as much trouble to discover what is right as lesser people take to
discover what will pay.
…calls attention to the good points in others; he does not call attention to
their defects. The small person does just the reverse of this.
The ancient people whose teachings were more "theological" were the most enduring examples of service-based leadership, and the teachings chosen to offer significant insight into its principles.

In contrast to the pragmatic worldliness of oriental philosophers, the Buddha advocated a complete separation of the things of this world - a position which seems to offer little on the surface of the present under him. But Indian philosophy, which is as old as any religious tradition still in practice, provides some of the most profound observations about intellectual development and mental and emotional control can be found in written history.
In his exposition on the Eightfold Path, the Buddha contributed his most significant thoughts on leadership designed to help seekers who are pious through right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mind, and right concentration. From the description of these principles, we accept wisdom like Buddhist advice to live in the present, because anger comes from life in the past, and fear of living in the future. Right thinking, the Buddha taught four qualities: compassion, love, sympathetic joy, and inner balance. Leaders such as Gandhi, despite drawing more specifically from the Hindu and Jain traditions in India, found the power of great leadership through the implementation of these true attributes of thought.

In the West, most of us are more familiar with the teachings and traditions of the great monotheistic religion as presented by their leaders, the prophets of Israel, Jesus, and Muhammad. But we often choose to ignore the basic principles of their leadership and management, more inclined to seek the support of their teachings for our personal "desires".
The Muslim prophet, Muhammad, preferred to assume the public leadership that virtue lay only in him who ordered charity, goodness, and peace among humans. Through Muhammad, Allah advised that if a man carries a piece of news, he first investigates the truth, otherwise he will misinterpret another person by misappropriating it. A good person, the Koran commands, curbs his anger and forgives his fellow human beings. The Qur'an is very clear against the practice of usury that Sharia, Islamic law, prohibits interest taking. Justice and charity govern all human relations.
How, one might ask, can a leadership practice based on caring, compassion, selflessness, and integrity survive in the rough and tumble climate of today’s business or academic world?


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