Servant Leadership

Crucibles of Leadership (part 4)

The Essentials of Leadership In our interviews, we heard many other stories of crucible experiences. Take Jack Coleman, 78-year-old former president of Haverford College in Pennsylvania. He told us of one day, during the Vietnam War, when he heard that a group of students was planning to pull down the American flag and burn it—and that former members of the school’s football team were going to make sure the students didn’t succeed. Seemingly out of nowhere, Coleman had the idea to preempt []

Crucibles of Leadership (part 3)

Geeks and Geezers We didn’t set out to learn about crucibles. Our research for this article and for our new book, Geeks and Geezers, was actually designed to uncover the ways that era influences a leader’s motivation and aspirations. We interviewed 43 of today’s top leaders in business and the public sector, limiting our subjects to people born in or before 1925, or in or after 1970. To our delight, we learned a lot about how age and era affect leadership style. Our []

Crucibles of Leadership (part 2)

Learning From Difference A crucible is, by definition, a transformative experience through which an individual comes to a new or an altered sense of identity. It is perhaps not surprising then that one of the most common types of crucibles we documented involves the experience of prejudice. Being a victim of prejudice is particularly traumatic because it forces an individual to confront a distorted picture of him- or herself, and it often unleashes profound feelings of anger, bewilderment, and even withdrawal. For []

Crucibles of Leadership (part 1)

What makes a leader As lifelong students of leadership, we are fascinated with the notion of what makes a leader. Why is it that certain people seem to naturally inspire confidence, loyalty, and hard work, while others (who may have just as much vision and smarts) stumble, again and again? It’s a timeless question, and there’s no simple answer. But we have come to believe it has something to do with the different ways that people deal with adversity. Indeed, our recent []

Leading or leaning?

Think of those immediately surrounding you in supervisory positions. Now filter out your natural biases, jealousies or negative comments. Just look around. How did they get to where they are? Okay, now you’re free to flood the responses with whatever your perception is of how they arrived at that level. Some of your suspicions are probably true. This article isn’t as much for those being led, as those doing the leading. Ask yourselves how’d you get where you are? Was it because you []

Leadership, Smeadership | Get your own coffee

I’m often asked by officers, media and my college students about leadership. Seldom is asked what it takes to be led, or how to actually lead; but mostly when do “I get a chance to lead” or “I want to lead now.” I appreciate the enthusiasm, and if sincere, the desire to offer themselves up for the sacrifice to lead others. Sacrifice? Did you say “sacrifice?” No one ever mentioned sacrifice. Guess what? Servant leadership requires sacrifice. You must understand that to []