"The longest journey is the journey inwards."
Dag Hammarskold

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Leadership Notes -- Thoughts on Leading People and Making a Difference in Organizations

Word count this issue: 403

Estimated reading time:  2:15 minutes


I follow Richard Rohr cac.org and was struck by one of his posts about friendship as an ethic. I  found myself wondering about the place of servant leadership? Might there be a kind of friendship leadership?


Servant Leadership is a model initially explored by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970’s and 80’s. https://www.greenleaf.org/about-us/robert-k-greenleaf-biography/ "Greenleaf proposed that the best leaders were servants first, and the key tools for a servant-leader included listening, persuasion, access to intuition and foresight, use of language, and pragmatic measurements of outcomes.” His thinking challenges the Industrial Age leadership model that people are cogs in a mechanistic organization, and need to be told explicitly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. The key tools in that model are telling, ordering, logic, focus on the immediate, and measuring detail and activity.  Greenleaf’s work is seminal in my own thinking about leadership as supporting people in the vital work of becoming the person each of us are called to be. 


And then I read Rohr. What if the next generation leadership model is actually "friendship leadership" where we are less servants of each other and more friends of each other. We have each others’ backs. We speak the truth about and to each other. We are accountable to and with each other. We stand together for the common good. We do need to make decisions in organizations, and move in directions that not everybody desires, but we can still be friends with each other, seeing for example that to everything there is a season, and sometimes the season calls for us to part ways. 


And that is about as far as I have gotten in my thinking today with a deadline looming.


I wonder about what you think about 'friendship leadership'? Here are three questions for your further reflection.


1. What is the place of unconditional positive regard of other people in our businesses and organizations?

2. What is the place of friendship in leading and working with people?

3. What is one change you could make to your practice in the places you have responsibility to practice  an emerging friendship leadership?



I’d love to hear your thoughts on my initial thinking….