Before answering, allow me to highlight an experience many of us may have had before. This particular experience is that of being in a stadium full to capacity (say of 100, 000 people). Now, imagine, you or I happen to be citizens and supporters of the visiting National team which has traveled for an intercontinental engagement. In such a case, chances are that the visiting team supporters will be a small fraction compared to the home team. In an event that both teams sing as loud as possible, you will agree with me that the visiting team will be hardly heard except by those closest to them.
In the above analogy, the home crowd represents the dominant culture in the world today, while the away crowd or supporters represents the culture of a few people who are genuine Servant Leaders.
To answer the question, for me without a doubt in my mind, the single foundational reason why we have a few Servant Leaders in the world today is because of the pervasiveness of the dominant culture (the loudness of the home culture). The culture that is pronounced everywhere be it in homes, communities, on social media platforms, in schools, universities, institutions, movies, music, and in some cases in religious circles. This I refer to a culture the majority of the people in the world today subscribe to, are immersed in, and conform to. A culture that essentially conditions people to be MORE CONCERNED with THEIR REPUTATION or what others think. Hence the need to VALUE and PRIORITIZE self-service, the need to promote how they look on the outside, the need to imitate, the need to conform to the lifestyle of others that are PERCEIVED to be successful. With that, many people are often willing to do anything to keep up appearances. In short, most people are immersed in a culture that prioritizes public image or reputation (who they are on the outside) than character (who they truly are on the inside).
Without realizing it, most people automatically surrender their authenticity. Eventually, their personal beliefs, convictions, values, principles, morality, unique distinctions, and their character become constrained or limited.
Why should this matter, you might ask?
It should matter for the following reasons.
- 1. Most of our ERRORS AND SHORTCOMINGS are as a RESULTS OF CHARACTER FLOWS not as a result of lack of capacity.
- 2. CHARACTER NURTURING determines true WHOLISTIC PERSONAL GROWTH, advancement, and development of one`s true CAPACITY.
- 3. Without WHOLISTIC PERSONAL GROWTH, maximization of inherent wealth of potential will only be a dream.
- 4. Without maximization of inherent wealth of potential, genuine good works, authentic good success is IMPOSSIBLE. By good success I mean the kind of success not anchored on corruption, stealing, manipulation or abuse of others, the kind of success where one prospers even as his or her soul prospers.
For a few years now, I have been researching more on the lives of Servant Leaders that have left positive visible footsteps in the sand of history. One interesting discovery I came across was that all genuine Servant leaders become leaders as the result of circumstances, declaration of independence from the dominant culture, and most importantly the discovery of inherent wealth of potential within them.
Why is that, you might ask?
Servant Leadership is both innate and learned. What this means is that Servant leadership potential (capacity) remains in each and every one of us. The perfect example of this is a seed. As we all know, every seed has the potential to become a fruit-producing plant/tree. Nevertheless, not every seed even with inherent potential will become a fruit-producing plant/tree.
The same is true with us humans, as already indicated, Servant Leadership potential or capacity is inherent in all of us. However, that potential MUST be cultivate, and developed. This is where education or the process of learning comes in.
Having said that, I must emphasize that Servant leadership has more to do with beliefs, conviction, perception, attitudes, habits, and behavior than it has to do with skills, techniques, or methods. This is why, it is possible for one to learn skills such as those related to Personal branding, Self-development, Team development, Strategic thinking, Effective Communication, Public Speaking, Problem-solving, and Ethical practice yet one will not necessarily be a leader who is influential, inspirational, effective and efficient, authentic, has integrity or admirable character. The reason is that information acquired by learning skills, techniques, or methods, does not guarantee transformation. THIS IS NOT TO SAY, THESE SKILLS ARE NOT IMPORTANT.
My point is that, with Servant leadership, techniques, methods, and skills are far from being enough. In fact, Servant leadership has less to do with aptitude and more to do with having the right attitude or having a heart of service, which is a product of deep personal understanding, beliefs, conviction, and wisdom. In other words, the foundation is having the right mindset. Then learning techniques, methods, and skills will be an added advantage.
In summary, education that matters is the type of education that is thought-provoking, the type of education that leads to change of personal beliefs (transformation of the mind), type of education that leads to the cultivation of a good character. This is why PBL Institute was formed, to champion the promotion of this specific type of education, where people will be exposed to fundamental life principles that will challenge their conditioned way of thinking, the type of education that will nurture and facilitate true transformation.
In ending, allow me to share the following quotes,
“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the energy of growth”. – John F Kennedy
“Ninety-nine percent of leadership failures are failures of character.” – General Norman Schwarzkopf
“We can depend on what other people think to determine our values. The problem is, the world often values the wrong things. For instance, the world emphasizes beauty over character, or tells us to pursue whatever feels good, or declares that whoever has the most possessions wins.” – Rick Warren
“When we say someone has good character we are expressing the opinion that his or her nature is defined by worthy traits like integrity, courage, and compassion. No one is born with good character; it’s not a hereditary trait. And it isn’t determined by a single noble act. Character is established by conscientious adherence to moral values, not by lofty rhetoric or good intentions. “ – Michael Josephson
“Character is not something that you buy; it is not a commodity that can be bartered for; it is not a quality suited for only the rich and famous; rather, character is built upon the foundational commitment of love, honesty, and compassion for others”. Byron R. Pulsifer