PPDGJ: Chapter 4 LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE A New Model for Higher Education in a New Century KENT A. FARNSWORTH

Chapter 4
Shaping a Syncretic Leadership
It should come as no surprise that the principles of service-centered leadership that have proven to be very successful and enduring in our history. Warren Bennis recorded half a dozen famous historical figures contributed to the six-document in a population of only three million citizens.
It is a challenge to think of a caliber leader in America today. On the world stage, there are several - Nelson Mandela. But where are the leaders who shape the world in business? In higher education? The difference, according to Bennis, is that examples from our past history are people who are committed to the nation and citizens rather than money and themselves, while in the public and private sectors, what today's leaders call "confusing quantities for quality and substitute ambition for imagination.

Although the principles of service-centered leadership have resurfaced in the business community, and some of these principles have become the mainstay of modern management practices. The management revolution of the 1970s and 80s acknowledged that male-dominated hierarchical organizations from the first seven decades of the 20th century was inefficient, prone to conflict, greed and not in line with the emergence of the belief that business is a social organization. Thus, businesses, as well as other social institutions, have a responsibility to add to the development of civil society.

Modern organizations as organic creatures, which are always developing, always depend on proper functions and involvement to make the whole perfect. Each also agrees that the main thing among leadership responsibilities is forming the vision that directs change, fully involving them in the organization in pursuing general organizational goals, and arranging these goals so that they contribute to the improvement of society as a whole. This, by itself, is a dramatic and uplifting movement back towards the altruism of our great leaders in the past.

Follett presented four postulates that have foreshadowed modern leadership and management thinking. These included her concepts: (1) of creative conflict, (2) of management as a generic activity with application to all organizations, rather than exclusively to business, (3) of management as a function rather than as an assortment of tools, and (4) of the importance of reinventing the citizen within the social organization. We now see postulate two, that management approaches can effectively be applied in all organizations, as a given, so our focus here will be on postulates one, three, and four. In many ways, they were early expressions of what has since emerged as service-centered leadership.

Follett viewed conflicts—or what she preferred to call “differences”—as inevitable developments within an organization. She believed them to serve a useful and constructive purpose by illuminating areas of disagreement or misunderstanding that could then be used to foster consensus. He stressed very much on "The Law of the Situation," stating that "when there is identification with organizational goals, members tend to see what is needed in the situation and do it whether the boss sees whether they are resolving it or not.

A conflict arises when one of two situations:
employees do not identify with the organization's goals, or these objectives are differently perceived and understood by employees and leadership. Conflict can be an opportunity to identify which deficiencies exist. When conflict resolution is approached objectively the results can be integrated and creative solutions that strengthen the organization and serve all who are related.

The Law of Situation states that when examined carefully and honestly, the facts of the situation contain a solution and the key to finding this solution is openness between those involved in the conflict, plus as many opportunities as possible to thoroughly examine the problem.

Even though the solution might be in trouble, it won't be easy to see for everyone, and the more people examine it, the more likely one of those involved will see the best solution. This broad involvement introduces the second part of the Follet Creative Conflict principle.
Conflict, when handled in this objective way, begins to function as a vital creative force within the organization. The first rule for getting integration, Follett suggests, is that you have to "put your card on the table, face the real problem, uncover the conflict, bring everything to the open."  To do so requires extraordinary internal trust with the concept of power-with and results that have integration, parallel to the principles of Greenleaf's Servants. 

In Follett's model organization, everyone, from leaders to line workers, contributes some vital functions without which the organization cannot be fully effective. Some responsibilities require a broader scope and understanding, but if the organization is complete without exaggeration, nothing is not important.

Each must view itself as a vital organ, with the existence and survival of the organization depending on each function that works in a healthy and coordinated manner. With this integrated service view, the principle of power-by becoming much clearer and important in the organization. Those who even have short college leadership experiences have seen this principle in action.
Follet sees constant interaction of actions and ideals. Ideals must guide our actions, and actions will in the process inform our ideals. Through the interaction of these actions and ideals, we can guide organizational and individual behavior. Organizations, in almost the same way, develop collective morality - an understanding of what is right based on the unity together in the presence of the dynamic ideals of all involved. This sense of collective rights results in an organization's conscience, group understanding of what is best for the organization and for all those involved with it. From this interrelated understanding of rights arises common sense goals - the basis for organizational commitment and loyalty. When organizations are larger communities, the result is citizens who are knowledgeable and committed, loyal not by coercion or violence, but by an established belief that sharing ideals will guide collective action.

Follett offers a brief summary of his thoughts by observing: "Leaders and followers alike follow an invisible leader that is a common goal."


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