Regarding your review of Dan Ebner’s book—
- I have read his book, “Servant Leadership Models for your Parish,” and I think it is a very useful resource—not only for the Catholic Parish, but for churches in general.
- While I am a Quaker (not a Catholic), I think his book is written in such a way as to be helpful to a variety of faith institutions.
- I found myself generally nodding my head in agreement with your review of his book.
- I certainly agree that the pastor who wants to be an effective servant-leader must also be a good manager. I don’t think that being one precludes the other.
Regarding your review of Margaret John Kelly’s chapters—
- I am sorry to say that I have not read The Concise Guide for Catholic Church Management. There were a couple of things in your review of the chapter on “Leadership” that caught my attention, and that I may see somewhat differently.
- First-and-foremost, I do not view authentic servant-leadership as a “style” of leadership that one may use or not use based upon a given situation. Greenleaf is clear that servant-leadership (the-servant-as-leader) is a philosophy of life that puts serving others first, then leading out of that deep desire to serve. In that way, servant-leadership may be seen as part of one’s authentic self. That doesn’t mean that servant-leaders are perfect.
- Regarding your comment about Kelly and Blanchard on whether a servant-leader would seldom call on another style: Actually, I believe that Ken’s own thinking on this has evolved over the past thirty years. See his book, “The Servant Leader.” Also, my colleague Shann Ferch and I conducted an interview with Ken about eighteen months ago which underscores this. I am attaching a link to one of the interview clips from that interview that may be found on YouTube. Other segments from that interview can also be found there.
- I am not familiar with Knapp on non-verbal communication. I do know that Greenleaf wrote clearly and eloquently on the centrality of careful, receptive listening as being key for servant-leaders. His writings on the importance of listening and other characteristics have been part of my own work over the years.
- The reference to “church managers” (drawing on the title of the publication on Church Management) is a reminder to me that, in my experience, there is a lack of leadership (servant-leadership) instruction and encouragement in every kind of management education (business, church, educational, healthcare, non-profit). I believe it is useful to encourage managers to recognize that they are also leaders, and that this requires exercising a different set of muscles. The explosion of MBA programs in recent decades has done little to raise the understanding and practice of ethics, values, and servant-leadership—and this is one reason why values-based leadership and servant-leadership are increasingly coming to the forefront.
- Greenleaf was fond of talking about operationalizing (managing) and conceptualizing (leading) within organizations. To the degree that we can encourage the development of more effective servant-leader-managers (those who are able to both care for and inspire others (as a servant-leader), and who also recognize that people and vision are at least as important as managing the financial bottom line, the better off I think we will be as a society. Attached here is a link to the NBC Dateline piece on servant-leadership that I was involved in a few years back, and which has some relevance to this point.