Becoming a Servant-Leader

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Gary Hamel writes a blog entitled, Management 2.0. He recently published a short article, "The Facebook Generation vs. the Fortune 500" and talks about 12 work-related online characteristics and their possible implication for future work and management practice.

Here are a few observation from the article that I found especially interesting.

Online is a place where:

"..authority trickles up, not down"

"leaders serve rather than preside"

"..human effort flows toward ideas and projects that are attractive"

"..there are a lot of incentives to share...few incentives to hoard"

"position, title..degrees...none of the usual status differentiators carry much weight..what counts is...what you can contribute"

"..(its) a gift away your expertise and content"

"..a..medium for aggregating the wisdom of the crowd"

"you may have built the community, but the users really own it"

"..human beings will give generously of themselves when they’re given the chance to contribute to something about

While the concept of a servant leader is centuries old (at least 600 BC, Lao Tzu), Robert Greenleaf, formerly of AT&T, described servant leadership for modern times thus:

"It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead…The difference manifest itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: do those served grow as persons, do they grow while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?"