TD Industries claims to be the first US company to adopt servant leadership as its management philosophy. Check out the company’s home page (http://www.tdindustries.com) and click on the link to “Servant Leadership at Work,” an article from the August 2011 issue of Plumbing and Mechanical Magazine. After reading the article, consider the following questions: In what ways does TDI implement servant leadership principles? How are they “creating hundreds of servant leaders”? Is this a model that other companies can emulate?
Visit the City Year website (http://www.cityyear.org). Click on the button “About City Year” and then under the pop-up menu click, “Founding Stories.” The stories are quite brief, often only a paragraph. Read at least a dozen and then choose one that speaks to you. What founding story did you most identify with? Why? Also consider what makes stories powerful and inspiring.
Building Sustainable Communities
Watch the TED Talk by Majora Carter (“Sustainable South Bronx” at www.ted.com/talks). Carter is an urbanist, committed to environmental justice. Discuss how race and class are associated with environmental justice. How is Carter committed to the growth of people, to building community, and to stewardship? How does her story about the found dog support her concept of leadership? In addition, Carter uses two metaphors to describe herself—as “a canary in the coal mine,” and as living “in between two worlds.” How might these metaphors apply to other community builders as well? Do you consider Bogota, Colombia’s mayor a servant leader? What happened in Bogota when citizens saw they were being “served first”?
Follow up: Search online for articles about Majora Carter and the criticism she has received for her management of Sustainable South Bronx and alleged disregard for other grassroots efforts to promote change in the Bronx. Do you think her leadership style has changed? Why or why not?
It’s a Wonderful Life
Margaret Wheatley narrates a video that introduces the concept of servant leadership through the film It’s a Wonderful Life. The DVD can be purchased or rented from www.advancedknowledge.com. The accompanying training program can be adapted to different classroom settings and includes exercises and discussion questions. It can be downloaded from www.hillconsultinggroup.org/assets/pdfs/articles/life-leadership.pdf.
Peruse the website for the Robert Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership at https://greenleaf.org. Look at the mission statement, resources for students, conference topics and bookstore items. Research the new director of the Greenleaf Center. Why was she chosen? How has she promoted servant leadership in her corporate life?
If the class has spent substantial time learning about servant leadership, you might be motivated to make your own informative videos about this approach to upload on YouTube. View several clips about servant leadership on YouTube (look under Servant Leadership examples), then choose a relevant example to you (campus leader, community leader, current events figure, etc.) and create your own 2-minute film about servant leadership. This requires flip cameras or rentable cameras on campus and some editing software. Along with the video, write a one-page summary of your goals in making this film and what aspects of servant leadership you chose to feature and why. How does this assignment support one or more of your course objectives?