The Servant-Leader

Currently Reading
Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future
By Ben J. Wattenberg
see related

Welcome back.

Before we move on to my final post regarding this article, I wanted to thank all of you for your thought provoking contributions. I hope you guys have enjoyed talking through this article as much as I have. Besides continuing to document my journey and thinking on this blog, I’m thinking about taking one day a week to write about “Creativity: Drawing out the Genius in all of us.” What do you think?

In addition, I have some interesting things brewing on my end that I’ll post fairly soon. Until Monday. Follow Him. He knows where he’s going.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”] of Leadership plus ONE

  • The Opportunist –wins any way possible
  • The Diplomat –avoids overt conflict
  • The Expert –rules by logic and experience
  • The Achiever–meets strategic goals
  • The Individualist–Interweaves competing personal and company action logics
  • The Strategist— generates organizational and personal transformations
  • The Alchemist–generates social transformation
  • The Servant-Leader –remembers the forgotten and along with a community of Christ followers collaborates to change the whole world one life at a time.

Q: “How do you raise leaders?”

A: “We train people of character and conviction. History raises leaders.”

Christ following leaders are not primarily concerned with their place in history: Am I an Alchemist? They are primarily concerned with faithfulness to Christ –am I His servant?– whether their assignment is large or small.

We know of king David because he is one of the heroes who lived. David didn’t know when he picked up those smooth stones and began to run into the Valley of Elah screaming like hell that he was in Samuel Chapter 17. If he had died there he would have been another nameless, stupid boy who died in an unknown valley. William Wallace set one foot before the other and led a coalition of clans across a field against an army of overwhelming force. He didn’t know that he would one day be played by Mel Gibson in a feature film. Like David, he lived. For a while.

I wonder, though, if it isn’t the heroes and leaders who fall unheralded and unknown or who serve faithfully but without celebrity that cause the angels to rise to their feet and cheer.

Do we lead within the cause of Christ and seek to climb the ladder within it out of personal ambition? Or do we wake up in the middle of the night and wonder how we might make the world a better place for others, for the generations to come, and willingly lay down our lives that the triumph of Christ might resound in all the earth?

Love.

Christ following leaders touch the world and it turns to gold because of love. In a comment on an earlier post, Dominic provided for us the definition of Alchemist. An Alchemist is one who turns the ordinary into the extraordinary, the wasted into a treasure. The love that is the power within the gospel and the source of all things in the universe turns everything it touches into something beautiful. And this love beams like lasers from the Christ follower’s eyes, hands and words when we speak and heal in the name of Jesus.

OK, we may never be well known. And we may never talk to kings. But if we walk in the way of Jesus, even should no one else know our names, perhaps eternity will rise to its feet and cheer.

Photographs

  • Me and Lucas getting pupusas after a soccer match
  • The Salvadoran Restaurant not too far from where we lived in LA until two weeks ago

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Los Angeles, Ca
© 2005

The Alchemist Part II

It’s almost midnight here. My friend, Dominic, just left. We had a terrific conversation about many things. One of them related to our conversation on leadership. Dominic mentioned how he had grown so much in his understanding of and behavior within relationships that sometimes he feels he was a “different person” than he is today. I mentioned a novel I read last year titled Half a Life. I bought it because the title spoke deeply to me of my own experience both as an immigrant to this country and as an adult convert to the Christ following movement. I’ve been three people already in my life and I’m not done yet. It’s past midnight now. Thursday has started out really well.

Welcome back.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”] of Leadership

  • The Opportunist –wins any way possible
  • The Diplomat –avoids overt conflict
  • The Expert –rules by logic and experience
  • The Achiever–meets strategic goals
  • The Individualist–Interweaves competing personal and company action logics
  • The Strategist— generates organizational and personal transformations
  • The Alchemist–generates social transformation

The article in the HBR builds on the premise that leaders are made not born. Their research led them to this conclusion: “leaders can transform from one action logic to another.” Four (4) factors can support or lead to leadership transformation.

  • personal changes– ex: boredom, burnout, existential angst
  • external changes–ex: a promotion, getting fired
  • work practices or environments–ex: organizational and/or process change
  • development interventions–ex: team training or coaching, participating in an online blog on leadership, going to a conference

The most common transformation is from the Expert to Achiever. Experts basically need to focus less on a narrow my way is the right way orientation and move towards more flexibility. While getting leaders to the Achiever level is the forte of business schools, they have a “dismal record in recognizing, supporting, and actively developing leaders to the Individualist and Strategist action logic, let alone the Alchemist logic.”

The way achievers use communication –to determine if goals are being met–needs to incorporate inquiry regarding the worthiness of the goals themselves. This is difficult in the bottom line environment of industry, but is the necessary step to evolve into an Individualist and/or Strategist logic. How to create projects, teams, networks, strategic alliances, and whole organizations based on collaboration…these are the focus of the Strategist. They are no longer asking: how do I get the skills I need? They are asking, who do I need to interact and connect with? Where is that community where my assumptions can be challenged and refined? The writers of this article tell of programs designed to stimulate action and reflection, “intense experiences that nurture the moment-to-moment awareness of participants, always providing the shock of dissonance that stimulates them to reexamine their world views.” The article concludes: “Interestingly, many people who attend these programs report that these experiences have had the tranformative power of a life-altering event, such as a career or existential crisis or a new marriage.”

What do you think?

  • Can you look back and see a moment so decisive that you experience yourself as a “different person”? Describe how this transformation happened?
  • What was the substance of that change and how did it manifest itself?

Photographs

  • My wife, Niza (left in blue) and Melvin Rivera (center) of Hollywood based world music band, doSul, and Dominic Massaro (aka ambient electronic soundscape artist, grafitt61) at a “house concert” in Southern California.
  • My youngest son, Lucas (10)

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Los Angeles, Ca
© 2005

The Alchemist Part I

Currently Playing
Varekai [2004]
By Steve Shehan, Violaine Corradi, Stephen Hussey, Ion Tanase, Didier Malherbe, Marcial Heredia Fernández, English Chamber Orchestra [members of], Tara Harrison, Carmen Piculeata, Chandru
see related

Welcome back.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”] of Leadership

  • The Opportunist –wins any way possible
  • The Diplomat –avoids overt conflict
  • The Expert –rules by logic and experience
  • The Achiever–meets strategic goals
  • The Individualist–Interweaves competing personal and company action logics
  • The Strategist— generates organizational and personal transformations
  • The Alchemist–generates social transformation

The Alchemist integrates material, spiritual, and societal transformation. Their strength is leading “society-wide transformations. 1% profiled at this action logic. They differ from the Strategist in their ability to “reinvent themselves and their organizations in historically significant ways.” These leaders are a rare find in any industry.

From a very small sample, the writers of this article in the HBR described Alchemists as

  • engaged in multiple organizations yet not overly burdened
  • able to deal with immediate issues and keep focused on long-term goals
  • typically charismatic and extremely aware individuals who live by high moral standards
  • focusing intensely on truth
  • able to speak with both kings and commoners
  • able to capture unique moments for their organization

Nelson Mandela is offered as an example of an Alchemist. In 1995 Mandela walked out onto the field and stood wearing the “enemy” Jersey of a rugby team that was hated by black south Africans and at the same time raised a clenched fist salute of the ANC. Almost impossibly Mandela appealed to both blacks and whites at the same time.

What do you think?

  • What price are we willing to pay to lead the kinds of lives that make the world a better place for others?
  • I would guess that most of us already know the change the spirit wants to bring in our lives. What keeps us from letting go and stepping into a new dimension of discipleship and leadership?

Leadership Learning Alert

Eric Bryant, whom I consider the country’s leading trainer in the Character Matrix, is leading a one week online class starting Monday, April 18. For those of you in the IMN process the class is included in your tuition. Other leaders, however, can also participate for a fee. If you know of pastors, church planters, leaders, disciplers who could use some training or need some interaction with an innovative leader, encourage them to enroll at http://www.internationalmentoringnetwork.com and click on “Mentoring Network”.

Coming up…Evolving as a Leader

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Los Angeles, Ca
© 2005

The Strategist

Currently Playing
Winged Migration
By Various Artists
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Welcome back.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”] of Leadership

  • The Opportunist –wins any way possible
  • The Diplomat –avoids overt conflict
  • The Expert –rules by logic and experience
  • The Achiever–meets strategic goals
  • The Individualist–Interweaves competing personal and company action logics
  • The Strategist–generates organizational and personal transformations.
  • The Alchemist

The Strategist “exercises the power of mutual inquiry, vigilance, and vulnerability for both short and long term.” 4% of the sample profiled at this action logic. The Strategist’s strength is as a “transformational leader.”

While the Individualist focuses on mastering communication with those who have different action logics, the Strategist focuses on the effect of actions and agreements on organizations. Strategists approach organizational constraints as negotiable and transformable.

Strategists “deal with conflict more comfortably than do those with other action logics, and they’re better at handling others resistance to change.”

Strategists are more interested in three dimensions of interaction: personal relationships, organizational relations, and international developments. While achievers may use their influence to promote their companies, Strategists will create ethical practices beyond the interests of himself or his company.

What do you think?

  • Was Barnabus a Strategist? What about Paul?
  • Any of you ever have an experience working with a Strategist? What was that like?
  • From the tidbit of info above, What would the differences in approach be between an Individualist and a Strategist if they were trying to lead within an unhealthy system?
  • Tomorrow…the Alchemist.

    Into the Mystic…

    © Alex McManus, 2005
    Los Angeles, Ca

The Individualist

Currently Reading
Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
By Malcolm Gladwell
see related

Welcome back.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”] of Leadership

  • The Opportunist –wins any way possible
  • The Diplomat –avoids overt conflict
  • The Expert –rules by logic and experience
  • The Achiever–meets strategic goals
  • The Individualist–Interweaves competing personal and company action logics
  • The Strategist
  • The Alchemist

The Individualist is characterized by the ability to create “unique structures to resolve gaps between strategy and performance.” Their strength is effectiveness in “venture and consulting roles.” This action logic appeared in 10% of the sample. The Individualist understands that action logics are not natural, according to the HBR. The individualist knows our action logics are constructs.

Our action logics are not genetic but invented and those leaders with these action logics know this. We are taught, or adopt certain behaviors or beliefs about who we are and how we go about things. These “constructs” are not fixed in our nature. They can be tweaked or changed. The Individualist is then able to “put personalities and ways of relating into perspective and communicate well with people who have other action logics.”

The differ from achievers in that their “awareness of a possible conflict between their principles and their actions, or between the organization’s values and its implementation of those values. This conflict becomes a source of tension, creativity, and a growing desire for further development.”

What do you think?

  • How able are we [are you] of changing how we interpret and react to our context when challenged?
  • How able is that challenging leader you work with [or for] to change?
  • What would need to happen in us for us to significantly adjust or change who we are as leaders?
  • What are examples from scripture of leaders who evolved from one style of leadership to another?How did this happen?

Photographs

One of our cadre of leaders is my new friend, James Petticrew, from Scotland. His grandfather lived in Los Angeles sometime around WW1 (1917). I believe these pics are from around the area where he would have lived, James. I took a shot in each direction. 804 Temple Street would be just to the left of the green bar and grill across the street that is now a parking lot. The large gold structure in one of the pics is the new 50 million dollar Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church. I lived walking distance from this corner for six years until two weeks ago. James, for some reason I couldn’t upload all the pics I just described so I’ll have some more in Tuesdays blog as well.

Coming Up

The most important part of our conversation is how to actually grow as a leader. How do we evolve in our action logic? How can we stand up and be who in the center of our hearts we know we are called to be. After the Strategist and the Alchemist we’ll dive into this discussion.

By the way, It was 65 degrees Fahrenheit today in Los Angeles and sunny. The humidity was around 52% and the winds were negligible. In other words, a perfect day…again.

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Los Angeles, Ca
© 2005

The Achiever

Welcome back.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”]

  • The Opportunist –wins any way possible
  • The Diplomat –avoids overt conflict
  • The Expert –rules by logic and experience
  • The Achiever
  • The Individualist
  • The Strategist
  • The Alchemist

Today we’re talking about The Achiever. Achievers meet strategic goals. They are characterized by effectively achieving goals through teams and juggling managerial duties and market demands. Their strengths are that they are action and goal oriented. The achiever is well suited for managerial roles. Thirty percent of the sample profiled at this action logic.

These kind of leaders create a positive work environment and focus their efforts on outcomes. Their weakness is they may inhibit “out of the box” thinking. They’re open to feed back and have a feel for the fact that conflict and ambiguities may be due to varying points of view.

Achievers clash with experts. In a funny anecdote, the Harvard Business review illustrates the frustration that an Expert subordinate may feel around an Achiever because he (the Expert) may feel superior but must recognize the Achievers success. At a Hewlett-Packard project meeting one lab manager (an Achiever) slammed the table and said to an (Expert) engineer, “I know we can get 18 features into this, but the customer will want delivery some time this century, and the main 8 features will do.”

What do you think?

Any achievers out there? Graffiti61 (Dominic) shared a great story yesterday in the comments about delegating work between slow carpenters and speedy carpenters. He asked which action logic we thought his actions might point to. I think it fits somewhere in this action logic, Dom. Tony shared about being an expert called up to management and the difficulties that come with that transition.Here are some questions to get things going.

  • Describe your experiences working with an achiever.
  • Who are some achievers in history? scripture?
  • what are key changes we can make to evolve to an achiever?

Where are we going?

  • Tomorrow (Friday)–The Individualist
  • Monday –The Strategist
  • Xday –The Alchemist
  • Yday –Evolving as a Leader
  • Zday –Evolving as a Leader
  • Aday –The Jesus Way

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Los Angeles, Ca
© 2005

The Opportunist, The Diplomat And The Expert

Welcome back.

The Seven Ways [“Action Logics”]

  • The Opportunist
  • The Diplomat
  • The Expert
  • The Achiever
  • The Individualist
  • The Strategist
  • The Alchemist

Today we continue the third part of our conversation on transforming our leadership “action logics.” According to the Harvard Business Review, corporate and individual performance are related to one’s “action logic” (see Monday, April 4 post for a definition). The three types of leaders the perform least effectively in corporate settings are the Opportunist, Diplomat and the Expert. These three types accounted for 55% of the sample researched.

The Opportunist is characterized by winning any way possible. They are self-oriented and manipulative. This type of leadership may be described as “might makes right”. The strength of the Opportunist is that they are good in emergencies and in sales opportunities. The % of the sample that profiled at this action logic is 5%. Control is an issue because they believe that everyone is out for themselves. How they react to to circumstances depends on whether or not they think they can direct the outcome. Few remain in management long unless they address their action logic unless they evolve into a more effective action logic.

The Diplomat is characterized by avoiding overt conflict. They want to belong and obeys group norms. They rarely rock the boat. The strength of the Diplomat is that they will be the supportive glue within an office. They help bring people together. 12 % profile at this action logic. Control is also an issue here but the focus is on inner control versus control of the external world. In a high level leadership post the Diplomat may seek to please higher status coworkers. Their action logic tells them they will gain acceptance and influence by cooperating with group norms and performing well. They may be overly polite and unable to provide constructive input into the lives of others. Research into 497 managers indicated that 80% of diplomats end up at junior levels [compare to 80% of strategists who end up at senior levels].

The Expert is characterized by ruling via logic and expertise. They want rational efficiency. The strength of the Expert is that they are good as an individual contributor. 38 % profile at this logic. This is the largest category of leader (38%). Experts try to exercise control by perfecting their knowledge. Water tight thinking is their goal. They are great individual contributors but problematic as managers because they are so sure they are right. [And maybe they are?]. For them collaboration is a waste of time. They will treat people who lack their expertise with “contempt”. Emotional intelligence is not desired or appreciated.

What do you think?

Well these three action logics describe half of us (55%). Scary is it not? No worries. Leaders can grow. It may hurt to open up to self evaluation but do it because your leadership matters. Jim from Orlando asked an interesting leadership question with a theological slant in his comment yesterday. Which of these action logics would describe the leadership of the Old testament leader, Saul? Here are some other questions for reflection and interaction.

  • What other historical or biblical characters/behaviors fit these action logics?
  • As you reflect on your own life, are there examples of these action logics in your own behavior and thinking?

Into the Mystic…

Alex McManus
Los Angeles, Ca
© 2005