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What Leaders are Learning

Leaders Are Aware

Leaders Are Aware

Leadership Spokane is committed to the truism that leaders always learn. This past week, our leaders were part of our “Leadership in a Diverse World” day. The servant leadership characteristic we focus on this important day is awareness. For Robert Greenleaf, awareness was a crucial leadership characteristic so that leaders can be responsive to their followers. But, it is not a passive characteristic. Awareness is about being disturbed, being agitated, and then being committed to doing something. Aware leaders are busy leaders but busy leaders are never too busy for their followers.
I was always impressed by one of Greenleaf’s quotes: “Spirit is the animating force that disposes persons to be servants to others.” After reflecting on this quote during our day of leadership last week, I am very comfortable substituting the word ‘awareness’ for ‘spirit.’ Our awareness of other needs and our community’s aspirations is the animating force that allows us to be a good servant for others. Take Dr Martin Luther King Jr--his growing awareness of discrimination in America became his animating force to a lead a movement that changed our nation for the good.
Anytime I quote Dr King, I most often use his famous quote: “Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'” His history growing up in a segregationist South made him aware more than most of his surroundings and justice, fairness and the pursuit of life’s dreams. His remarkable awareness of his American surroundings culminated with him delivering one of the most famous speeches ever delivered in 1963 in our nation’s capital: “I Have a Dream.”
Dr King knew that our destiny as a nation would only be fulfilled when we lived up to our Constitutional convictions: “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”
This next week, as we pause a moment to remember the continuing legacy of Dr King, it is incumbent of servant leaders everywhere to be aware of their family, their neighborhood, their community and their nation. As leaders, we must not seek solace for ourselves but rather we should seek out awareness instead---in doing so, we will likely become disturbed, agitated, and vow to take action for others. That is how we find solace in the long run. But, first leaders become aware.
The time is always right to do what is right. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.