Tag Archives: authenticity

Servant Leaders are Song Leaders

2016 will be my 40th high school reunion, and as I pondered it, 70’s icons began to flood my mind.

ROBIN WILLIAMS

Mork from Ork (Robin Williams for Millennials reading this!) made rainbow-colored suspenders and painter pants wildly popular (yes, I had both). Laugh-In tackled current issues with a cheerful cheekiness that made a silly phrase so popular that even Richard Nixon came on the show to say “Sock it to ME?” nixon

Utter the words “I’d like to teach the world to sing” and baby boomers immediately see people from every nation and every background holding hands in “perfect harmony.” The song immediately becomes an earworm of warm and fuzzy feelings.

smiley-face-1But “have a nice day” and its smiley face icon (the fore bearer of today’s emoji’s) is the most iconic symbol of the 70’s. It was everywhere, conveying a virtually universal desire to bless others with good wishes. This made me ponder what this year’s graduates will look back on in 2056 as the most iconic symbol from their high school years. I am afraid that the odds are way too high that it will be “grumpy cat.”83dad2ee2217ad59e3661e98aea8bb70

It is not just that grumpy cat memes are funny and dominate the Internet, but they really do capture our general grumpiness as a society right now. Hatefulness and obstructionism instead of optimism and solution seeking in national politics have infiltrated local government. Race baiting and name calling is becoming routine discourse. Disagreement has become justification for demonization.

It is not just that we are grumpy and acting out that grumpiness in how we treat other people as a society. We are increasingly accepting as normative ever-more ridiculous explanations by leaders trying to justify mean-spirited and anti-social behavior by themselves and their followers. Somewhere along the way we have equated treating people with dignity and respect with political correctness. The result is a stunning loss of civility.

Authentic servant leaders treat everyone with dignity and respect – especially those they disagree with. Authentic servant leaders nurture compromise more than collision. Authentic servant leaders think more about the next generation than the next election.

It is not just nostalgia that makes me yearn for more servant leaders who want “to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony.”

Ron_H_new
Written by:
Ron Holifield
CEO, Strategic Government Resources
governmentresource.com

 

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Presidential Politics and Servant Leadership

Republican Versus Democrat Concept

As Super Tuesday approaches I have been asked a number of times which presidential candidates I think are authentic servant leaders.

I try to never engage directly in political discussions on social media because mixing politics and social media results in little more than an echo chamber in which too many people are only interested in shouting at the other side rather than considering and understanding other perspectives.

However, my response in general is that the characteristics of a presidential candidate who is an authentic servant leader are the same characteristics as a city council member who is an authentic servant leader, which are the same characteristics as an authentic servant leader who is serving in any other role.

With that as a context… here is a pretty good list of characteristics to gauge whether a presidential candidate, a city council member or anyone else is authentically walking the talk of servant leadership… and is an even better way for me to constantly self-evaluate whether I am staying true to those same values:

  • Does the leader approach those with whom they disagree with the heart of a peacemaker?
  • Does the leader show mercy to others even when they are political opponents?
  • Does the leader have a meek and humble spirit that recognizes that their position could be wrong and the other perspective could be right?
  • Does the leader hunger to live righteously?
  • Does the leader constantly engage in honest self-reflection necessary to keep the motivations of their heart pure?
  • Does the leader know the pain of hurt and loss and understand the importance of being both comforting and being comforted?
  • Has the leader experienced being abused for doing the right thing and yet consistently reacts to being insulted and falsely accused with a joyful spirit despite it all?

How are you doing in your efforts to authentically walk the talk of authentic servant leadership?

Ron_H_new
Written by:
Ron Holifield
CEO, Strategic Government Resources
governmentresource.com

 

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Social Media for Servant Leaders

Authenticity as a servant leader means reflecting your genuine concern for others in the completeness of how you live every day. Being an authentic servant leader is not something you do, it is who you are. As a result, servant leaders should consider the following guidelines when posting on their various personal social media accounts:

  1. Never post any article that you have not actually read. Drama manipulators often post inflammatory and dramatic headlines on legitimate articles designed to inflame political passions knowing that unthoughtful people who agree with their broad sentiment will post and react to the dramatic headline without reading the article (which often even says the opposite of what the manufactured headline screams). If the content is not consistent with the headlines, posting it is contributing to drama without substance, not thoughtful discourse.
  2. Go to the source and make sure you want to be associated with it. There are a variety of web based “news sources” created by drama manipulators that produce stories with careless abandon regarding truth. When you see a hyper dramatic headline, go to the source and look at the overall tone and tenor of what they are posting. If they post a variety of dramatic stories that feel questionable, odds are that the story you are considering posting is questionable as well. And if you post questionable items from questionable sources, you yourself become known as someone who is a questionable source.
  3. Never abandon a passionate commitment to truth regardless of whether you agree with the sentiment. Drama manipulators regularly manufacture overtly false information designed for shallow thinkers to share, and in so doing advance their political agenda. Before posting anything, set aside your political beliefs and your emotional engagement on the issue, and ask yourself, do I REALLY believe this is true? The more dramatic a claim is, the more committed you should be to researching something on Snopes.com before posting it. In 2013, there was a spate of postings claiming the federal government had a secret network of underground tunnels connecting abandoned Walmarts from which the US Army was going to launch a takeover of Texas. When you post something false and irrational, you damage your influence and credibility and cause thoughtful friends to quietly question your judgment, your wisdom, and in some cases, your relationship with reality. Servant leaders know that credibility is precious and to be nurtured.
  4. Never post anything that is hateful in tone. Without regard to your political beliefs, if you post things that are dramatic and hateful in tone toward “the other side” you diminish your credibility as a servant leader with those who disagree with you. When you post hateful things about a particular leader, he or she may not ever read your post but it will build a wall between you and friends who support that leader. You can share your perspectives without being hateful in tone. Servant leaders are focused on building bridges not walls, even when disagreeing on substance.
  5. Have the emotional intelligence to recognize hateful comments. One of the tendencies of drama manipulators is to claim that what they posted is “not hateful, it is just telling the truth.” Just because you claim that something isn’t hateful doesn’t keep it from being hateful and mean spirited. Posting hateful comments about other people is always in conflict with a servant leader’s commitment to being a healer.
  6. Focus on your opportunity to influence others more than on your right to free speech. Yes you have the right to say dramatic, hateful, and demeaning things about political leaders (and others). A good thing about our constitution is that we have that freedom. However, just because you have the right to say something mean spirited does not mean it is constructive or beneficial to do so. Servant leaders recognize that the way we express ourselves affects the credibility of what we have to say.
  7. Avoid stereotyping. Social media is rampant with political, racial, gender, religious, and other stereotypical postings that demean and drive divisions between groups. Before posting anything that uses broad stereotypes about any group, think about someone you consider a personal friend who is a part of that group. Ask yourself if someone you disagreed with said the same things about your friend that you are posting about the group, whether that would be hurtful to your friend. If it would be hurtful if the exact same post called them by name, odds are it is hurtful when it stereotypes the group they are a part of. If you don’t have anyone who is a member of that group you would consider a personal friend, recognize that posting a broadside attack on that group using stereotypes is at best an act of ignorance that is spreading hateful attitudes.

The bottom line is that your mother was right – we are known by the company we keep. If our social media presence is marked by hateful, demeaning, and mean spirited articles, memes, and postings, then we will be known as someone who values hateful, demeaning, and mean spirited attitudes toward others — the antithesis of a Servant Leader’s heart.

Before posting anything on your personal social media, ask yourself 5 questions:

  • Am I sure it is factually true?
  • Is the content I am sharing coming from sources I want to be associated with?
  • Does it diminish anyone?
  • Is it hateful in tone?
  • Does it expand my influence – even with those who disagree with me?

Ron_H_new
Written by:
Ron Holifield
CEO, Strategic Government Resources
governmentresource.com

 

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Living and Working Authentically

This week, I’ve really been pondering the idea of authenticity. To be honest, this is a topic I often ponder. My generation has definitely had its struggles with authenticity. I come from a generation that was continually praised—I call us the “special snowflake generation”—but authenticity was rarely encouraged as a goal in life for many of us, though my generation desperately yearns for it. Is it even attainable in this day and age, with the pressures we feel pulling us continually in the direction of inauthenticity?

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In existentialist philosophy, authenticity is the extent to which we are true to our personalities, character, and values, despite external pressures. When we act in inauthentic ways, when we disown our values, these actions are said to be made in bad faith and we engage in self-deception to rationalize them (please look into the work of Jean-Paul Sartre for more on bad faith). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says this about authenticity:

Authenticity thus indicates a certain kind of integrity—not that of a pre-given whole, an identity waiting to be discovered, but that of a project to which I can either commit myself (and thus “become” what it entails) or else simply occupy for a time, inauthentically drifting in and out of various affairs.

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Simply defined, inauthenticity is being fake, disingenuous, or what my generation often calls “a poseur.” As I’ve grown older and witnessed the ends of relationships, professional and personal, inauthenticity has taken on an even deeper significance for me because I’ve seen the damage it can do. It is often detrimental to relationships because it demonstrates a lack of self-awareness and hinders trust-building efforts. You can’t trust someone if they lack sincerity and you can’t trust yourself if you aren’t being true to your own values.Quotation-Coco-Chanel-desire-truth-Meetville-Quotes-149588

Authenticity and integrity are inextricably linked. Nowhere is the struggle for integrity more real for most of us than in our jobs. This can lead to moral dilemmas and dissatisfaction because we feel that we must choose between integrity/authenticity and financial security. It can be difficult to know how to act in a situation like this. Do we opt for financial survival or do we risk our security to do what we feel is the morally right thing to do?

'If those whom we begin to love could

This week at SGR, we’ve spent some time together discussing what authenticity means for us as an organization and how it helps us build and maintain relationships, not just with our customers, but with each other, as a team. Integrity is one of SGR’s core values, an asset that should not be sacrificed for any reason whatsoever, even if the very survival of the business is at risk. But what does this mean, in real life, when put into practice?

It means that you don’t always take the easiest path. It means that you sometimes make decisions (sometimes difficult ones) that go against the crowd. It means that you consider the greater good in all that you do. It means that you know there is a difference between disowning your values to follow the crowd and growing real relationships that change you for the better.

Written b10583892_10152176775975685_7374245496433923175_ny:
Muriel Call
Research Coordinator
governmentresource.com

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