Serve one another in love

Do you feel a calling to serve others, but also lead through compassion and wisdom? Do you want to enrich lives, develop better organizations, and create a more positive world? You may be a servant-leader!

Join us to learn about and share your experiences servant leadership. Each month, in conjunction with Servant-Leader Milwaukee, Concordia University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the Office of Alumni Relations host the Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable. The meetings are held the second Thursday of the month,  from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in the Lakeshore Room at the Mequon Campus. While the topic changes each month, the enduring theme of the roundtable is "the wisdom is in the room."

Upcoming Servant Leader Roundtables via Zoom

Contact Elizabeth Evans at 262-243-4283 or for the information to join a meeting on Zoom.

Thursday September 9, 2021 7:30am to 8:30am Central Time
Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable on Zoom

Topic: Organizations as Living Systems
“We humans have spent so many years determining the details of the organization - its structures, values, communication channels, vision, standards measures. Living systems have all these features and details, but they originate differently. As we think of organizations as living systems, we don't discard our concern for such things as standards, measures, values, organizational structures, plans. We don't give up any of these. But we do need to change our beliefs about where these things come from. In a living system they are generated as people figure out what will work well in the current situation. In a machine these features are designed outside and then engineered in. “

Margaret J. Wheatly, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time. (Berrett-Kohler, 2007) p. 94.

Thursday October 14, 2021 7:30am to 8:30am Central Time
Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable on Zoom

Topic: Goodbye Command and Control
“People organize together to accomplish more, not less. Behind every organizing impulse I hope that by joining with others we can accomplish something important that we could not accomplish alone. And this impulse to organize in order to accomplish more is not only true of humans but found in all living systems. Every living thing seeks to create a world in which it can thrive. . . As a living system self-organizes, it develops shared understanding of what's important, what's acceptable behavior, what actions are required, and how these actions will get done. It develops channels of communication, networks of workers, and complex physical structures. And as the system develops, new capacities emerge. Looking at this list of what a self-organizing system creates leads to the realization that the system can do for itself most of what leaders have felt was necessary to do to it.”

Margaret J. Wheatly, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time. (Berrett-Koehler 2007) p. 66.

Thursday November 11, 2021 7:30am to 8:30am Central Time
Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable on Zoom

Topic: Knowledge Management Reimagined
“Although we live in a world completely revolutionized by information, it is important to remember that it is knowledge we are seeking, not information. Unlike information, knowledge involves us and our deeper motivations and dynamics as human beings. We interact with something or someone in our environment and then use who we are – our history, our identity, our values, habits, beliefs – to decide what the information means. . . Knowledge is always a reflection of who we are, in all our uniqueness. . . We must recognize that knowledge is everywhere in the organization.”

Margaret J. Wheatly, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time. (Berrett-Koehler 2007) p. 154.

Thursday December 9, 2021 7:30am to 8:30am Central Time
Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable on Zoom

Topic: Courage Comes from Our Hearts
“Where do we find the courage to be leaders today? The etymology of the word courage gives the answer. Courage comes from the old French word for heart, coeur. When we are deeply affected, when our hearts respond to an issue or person, courage pours from out from our open hearts. Please note that courage does not come from the root word for analysis or for strategic planning. We have to be engaged at the heart level in order to be courageous champions. As much as we may fear emotions at work, leaders need to be willing to let their hearts open and to tell stories that open other people's hearts.”

Margaret J. Wheatly, Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time. (Berrett-Koehler 2007) p. 129.

What is servant leadership?

Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

“The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?”  

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977/2002, p. 27). Servant-leadership: "A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness". Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Ten Principles of Servant Leadership

by Robert Greenleaf
  1. Listening - Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are communicating.
  1. Empathy - Servant-leaders strive to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. One must assume the good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even when forced to reject their behavior or performance.
  1. Healing - Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one's self and others. In "The Servant as Leader", Greenleaf writes, "There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between the servant-leader and led is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something that they have."
  1. Awareness - General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness can be scary--one never knows that one may discover! As Greenleaf observed, "Awareness is not a giver of solace - it's just the opposite. It disturbed. They are not seekers of solace. They have their own inner security."
  1. Persuasion - Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership. The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups.
  1. Conceptualization - Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between conceptualization and day-to-day focus.
  1. Foresight - Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.
  1. Stewardship - Robert Greenleaf's view of all institutions was one in which CEO's, staff, directors, and trustees all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust for the great good of society.
  1. Commitment to the Growth of People - Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.
  2. Building Community - Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives has changed our perceptions and has caused a feeling of loss. Servant-leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work within a given institution.

Learn more

If you have questions about servant leadership, or would like to register for an upcoming roundtable at CUW, please contact Elizabeth Evans.