In this short chapter Greenleaf shares his speech given at a leadership conference. He remarks that one of the delegates regarded the United States as arrogant due to their wealth and political power. Greenleaf takes the opportunity not to defend his nation but rather to warn those who are both in a position of power and wealth to give and to those who might receive.
After admonishing those with wealth and power (of which Greenleaf does not denounce but accepts as a natural evolution) Greenleaf turns to those who are to receive and delivers the following statement.
In the contemporary world it is at least as blessed, especially for the powerful, to receive a to give.
His point in this chapter is that the issue of pride, arrogance, and false humility knows no socioeconomic boundaries. The three are not given to show preference of one over another. Thus those who are in a position to receive are in just as much danger as those who would give.
From a Skilled Trades perspective, these three issues are not only running rampant but they are also, in some circles, considered a badge of honour. In a system where knowledge is passed down from the journeyperson to the apprentice, the temptation to think of yourself more highly than you should loom large.
This is not to say that we should not take pride in our work, or exude a confidence in our skills and abilities. Rather, we are to be the complete role model. One which includes a humility tempering our pride and confidence.
The same can be said also of the apprentice. Too often as an apprentice, I thought I knew more and was more skilled than my journeypersons. Sometimes this was the case but it still does not give me permission to treat others with contempt.
A few things to offer regarding much power and much responsibility.
Remember your roots.
Always remember that at one time you knew nothing of which you are now an expert. You went through your own learning curves (or cliffs), so will others. The choice you have is to whether you hold the rope they are using to climb or let it go and let them fall.
Remember to cultivate a continuous learning mindset.
No one ever really arrives. We may receive awards, accolades, recognition, even more, pay and perks. Yet the learning never stops. One of the greatest tools for learning something is to learn it with the mindset that you will have to teach it. This will put your perspective on your mentoring relationships in a whole new light.
Remember to not take your craft for granted.
You may be good, even great. You may have a lot to pass down and you may even have a lot of influence. But remember that life is shorter than you expect and time always ruins faster than you want. The big question is, how do you want to be remembered? What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind you?
Thanks again for taking the time to read my post, I hope you found it stimulating and helpful. If so, please pass it on to others. If you didn’t would be so brave to contact me and tell me what I could do better? This way you can help me in my living out of vis-facare. Getting stronger by doing.
This concludes our walk together through Servant Leadership. To be transparent there are two small and final chapters in the book that I will leave for now. I hope you enjoyed the series and if not I hope you found the odd gem here and there through my attempts to summarize the chapters.
Now that this series of chapter reviews are over, I’ll be writing about different topics until December. For the whole month of December, I will be taking a break to think, reflect, and plan for the next year.
Thanks again for reading and don’t forget,