Dynamic Realization And Servant Leadership

I haven’t blogged in a while, but today is a rainy day, and it seems appropriate to spend a few minutes creating an offering. In fact, this blog is the new theme for my book. All the work I have done on the book up to now will actually be adjusted to fit into this frame. I do believe this will be the thrust of phase three of my life.

All organizations are involved in some element of dynamic realization. Let me explain what I mean. Organizational Systems are in place to transform inputs into outputs. This transformation includes the people of the organization, the formal structure of the organization, the culture, and the critical tasks required to complete the transformation. For an organization to effectively and efficiently accomplish this dynamic realization, the components need to operate in congruency. System theorists have been arguing this since 1938 with Chester Barnard’s Function of the Executive. Let me develop the concept of Dynamic Realization a bit more.

The output of any organization will always be dynamic. This is due to the external generative order that is filled with uncertainty and constantly changing variables. If the organization operates with disparate continuities for an exorbitant amount of time, the organization will set itself up for failure. It fact research has demonstrated that an organization out of step with its environment will cease to exist.

Therefore, dynamic realization is critical for the sustainability of the organization. I do want you to realize that I am purposely using the word organization rather than business. Although all organizations have a business component, it is the organization that has the responsibility to complete its mission, whether it is a for-profit, not-for-profit, educational institution, etc. Dynamic realization is the completion of the mission.

The term realization comes from accounting. It refers to the moment when revenue from a sale is realized; when the sale is complete, the good has been transferred, or the service finished. Up to that moment the achievement of the goal is not considered ¬finis coronat opus. Thus every organization should be concerned with dynamic realization.

As I reflect on Dynamic Realization, I am wondering about the affects of leadership on this event. I do not think an organization can experience dynamic realization without good leadership. If good leadership is not in existence, the organization will actually fail. Therefor, what does a good leader need to do to support an environment that produces dynamic realization?

This process begins with the leader herself/himself. In involves four things: reflection, transparency, authenticity, and ultimately being a servant leader. Let me explain.

All one needs to do is look at Social Media, the people around us, and within ourselves and see the despair associated with our current election cycle. This results in a common theme represented by Peggy Noonan’s comments, “God is in charge of history. He asks us to work, to try, to pour ourselves out to make things better. But He is an actor in history also. He chastises and rescues, He intervenes in ways seen and unseen. Or chooses not to. 2016 looks like a chastisement. He is trying to get our attention.” As Joseph Rago argues that this is not the first time the United States has had a divided political situation. In our history, we have fought a war and a President had to sneak into Washington, D.C. for his inauguration, both symbolizing a political system that was broken. Neither of our major political choices is known for their humility and professional will. One is viewed as a bully, and the other a liar. This symbolizes a system that is broken and doesn’t know what servant leadership is.

What is needed to be a good leader? First, a leader needs to be reflective. Reflective Leadership has been around for several years, but I am not too sure how much it has sunk in. Reflective Leadership is a self-awareness element where the leader understands themselves and the people around them. This is an activity emerging from the theoretical framework of Emotional Intelligence. The leader is constantly creating personal mastery and a presence in the moment.

Because the leader is self-aware, cognizant of their strengths and weakness and a strong sense of personal mastery, the leader feels comfortable with the second element associated with the needed leadership style that supports dynamic realization, Transparency.

Forbes reports that employees want transparency within their organizations. Forbes states, “Just think of how many careers would have been salvaged and discovered if transparency had been a part of the cultural equation.” However, for an organization to have a transparent culture it needs to begin with the leader.

A transparent leader is one that is predictable and consistent. The transparent leader is approachable, a good communicator, reliable, able to paint a clear “big picture,” and treats employees with humility, interest, and respect. With a transparent leader, what you see is what you get. However, transparency is not enough. The leader needs to be seen as authentic.

Bill George, an American businessman and academic, that has popularized the concept of Authentic Leadership. I have always stated that a leader cannot be one way at home and another at work. Typically when I talk with my students about this I use Kenneth Lay as an example. To be fair I didn’t know the man when he was alive, but actions do speak louder than words. He taught Sunday school at home, but led a company that stole from its employees. A real leader will not be inconsistent in this manner.

Forbes reports that authentic leaders are self-aware and genuine, mission driven and focused on results, lead with their heart, and focused on the long-term. I have worked for a leader that was all of these things, reflective, transparent, authentic, and she made the last three years of my Boeing experience memorable. She truly was a servant leader.

Reflective, transparent, authentic are elements that support the prescriptive should of the modern leader focused on dynamic realization. That should is Servant Leadership.

Robert Greenleaf popularized the concept of Servant Leadership. He argued that a good leader is first a servant. In other words, they recognize their sole purpose is to ensure the other is successful and self-actualized. “The servant leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally focuses on the accumulation and exercise of power by the one at the top of the pyramid, the servant leader focuses on helping people develop the skills needed to do their job well, removing barriers so they can be successful, and sharing power with the other for the good of the organization.”

Dynamic realization will only occur through good leadership. Good leadership involves reflection, transparency, authenticity, and ultimately being a servant. Good leadership begins first with an internal self-analysis and subsequent behavior, and then specific activities the support the creative culture and action of the organization. That will be the discussion of my next blog.

And that is my thought for the day!

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