PPDGJ: Chapter 12 LEADERSHIP AS SERVICE A New Model for Higher Education in a New Century KENT A. FARNSWORTH

Chapter 12
Leading as Learning
Those who are trying to lead through service, the pressures to learn are compounded by the need to understand the learning challenges faced by those they serve. In this context, constant learning can provide the exposures necessary to build awareness, create new insights, find escape from what can otherwise become debilitating pressure, and seek the renewal of intellect and spirit needed
to remain fresh and passionate.

Appreciation is a matter of exposure— positive exposure—and the same is true with leadership. when relating the moment, “times when new experiences create new directions in one’s life. Learning must become every employee’s responsibility, part of the organizational fabric, and the institution must structure ways in which that learning can be shared internally and with the broader community through travel-study opportunities, brown bag lunches, informal reading groups, and other strategies designed to keep people intellectually engaged.

By awareness, Learning refers to an increase in general knowledge about, or experience with, something new. Insight extends that awareness by providing new ways of seeing and understanding based upon this knowledge and experience.
In learning why someone feels so adamantly opposed to a view which he holds, he will come to better understand his own position. Gaining insight, he will be quick to tell you, is an active, engaging process. Unless each of us forces learning beyond our immediate circumstance and our natural circle of interests, new insights rarely come.

Pressure can become debilitating, and the job of serving and healing becomes increasingly difficult if the leader is unable to heal personally. Learning can become a great healer and a great avenue for escape from the mental and physical pressures of leadership.
Taking a leave of absence to recover from exhaustion, and many began to ask if the job was even manageable. It is not coincidental that, in each of these cases, the escape combined physical and intellectual diversion. Both the mind and body need release from the stresses and intense focus of college administration, and learning to do or to think something completely removed from that routine can be the perfect form of escape.

Service is giving, and without some mechanism for renewal, a serving leader can easily give away more energy than can be spared. To serve well, one must first serve oneself and find those activities that keep the body active and alert, and the soul renewed.


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