Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If Lao Tzu were a project manager - part 5

"The sage guides his people by putting himself last" - Tao Te Ching, chapter 7

Servant Leadership has been a popular phrase recently, but clearly it goes back a long way. In modern times, Robert Greenleaf wrote the book “The Servant as Leader” in 1970 and others like Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, and Ken Blanchard also supported the notion. However, writing from 4th century B.C.E. India also supported the idea of the leader as servant.

So what is servant leadership? The leader first decides to serve and then leads as a way to serve. It emphasized collaboration over a hierarchical control structure. Trust is important and power should be used ethically. Since project managers don't always have hierarchical power anyway, this can be a good model to follow. You put your project team first and help them succeed, which will bring success to the project itself.

1 comment:

Burke said...

I completely agree in the service leadership model. I believe that if you empower your team that they in turn will help you accomplish your goals. As a side note, at a recent @task User Conference I learned about a new software called @task Stream that helps project managers empower their team members and truly work together as a team. I thought it was an interesting idea that falls in line with your thinking. You can see what I'm talking about by clicking on this link: social project management.