In the middle of the road of my life, I awoke in a dark wood, where the true way was wholly lost.
—Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Having focused on essential areas of your development as a leader, we are ready to tackle the greatest challenge of your journey: the transformation from I to We. In your early years, you are measured primarily for your individual contributions. Thus, it is difficult for emerging leaders to recognize that leadership is not about them and their ability to attract followers but is about serving others to bring out the best in them. We leaders are servant leaders.
I first encountered the notion of servant leadership in 1965, when I invited Robert Greenleaf to present his emergent ideas on this subject to the Musser Seminar on Business and Christian Ethics. Greenleaf described his views on the leader in his 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader”:
The servant-leader is servant first. One wants to serve first; then one aspires to lead. This is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Jaime Irick, a rising star at General Electric and West Point graduate, explained this transformation in practical terms. ...