Saturday, July 23, 2011

Servant Leadership- An Altruistic Approach

Recently came across this word ‘Altruistic’ wanted to understand the deeper meaning of the same and its day to day relevance in our work culture. Altruistic means to show unselfish concern for the welfare of others, so an altruistic approach would be a selfless one. Now how can we apply this to our corporate world? - Is it by serving others - customers, business associates or co- employees.

Practicing altruism is the real source of compromise and cooperation; merely recognizing our need for harmony is not enough. A mind committed to compassion is like an overflowing reservoir - a constant source of energy, determination and kindness. This is like a seed; when cultivated, gives rise to many other good qualities, such as forgiveness, tolerance, inner strength and the confidence to overcome fear and insecurity. The compassionate mind is like an elixir; it is capable of transforming bad situation into beneficial ones. Therefore, we should not limit our expressions of love and compassion to our family and friends. Nor is the compassion only the responsibility of clergy, health care and social workers. It is the necessary business of every part of the human community.

For this one has to develop a spiritual temper. Pure altruism is giving without regard to reward or the benefits of recognition. The concept has a long history in philosophical and ethical thought; materialistic struggle for personal gain is no way to make the world a better place. We should try to ignore the monetary aspect and put people at the heart of what we do, concentrating on what will be of real benefit to others. And if we are serving honestly money should follow.

Many illnesses can be cured by this one medicine of love and compassion to others. These qualities are the ultimate source of human happiness, and need for them lies at the very core of every being. Unfortunately, love and compassion have been omitted from too many spheres of social interaction for too long. Usually confined to family and home, their practice in public life is considered impractical, even naive. This is tragic. The practice of compassion is the most effective way to pursue the best interest of others as well as our own.

What ever is a conflict - an altruistic approach is frequently the sole means of resolving it. At times, when a resolution seems impossible, both sides should recall the basic human nature that unites them. This will help break the impasse and, in the long run, make it easier for everyone to attain their goal. After all we have to keep in mind our interdependent nature.

We can always learn from the nature by observing small insects, ants and bees. The laws of nature dictate that bees work together in order to survive. As a result, they possess an instinctive sense of social responsibility. They have no constitution, laws, police, religion or moral training, but because of their nature they labor faithfully together. In general the whole colony survives on the basis of cooperation. Human beings, on the other hand, have constitutions, vast legal systems and police forces; we have religion, remarkable intelligence and a heart with great capacity to love. But despite our many extraordinary qualities, in actual practice we lag behind those small insects; in some ways, I feel we are poorer than the bees.

When we are unable to share, we suffer from lack of love, loneliness, for instance, millions of people live together in large cities all over the world, but despite this proximity, many are lonely. Some do not have even one human being with whom to share their deepest feelings, and live in a state of perpetual agitation. This is very sad. We are not solitary animals, if we were, why would we build large cities and towns? But even though we are social animals compelled to live together, unfortunately, we lack sense of responsibility towards our fellow humans. Does the fault lie in our social architecture? Is it our own external facilities - our machines, science and technology? Or is it just a smile away? Just away by a spontaneous feeling of empathy.

I believe that despite the rapid advances made by civilization in this century, the most immediate cause of our present dilemma is our undue emphasis on material development alone. We have become so engrossed in its pursuit that, without even knowing it, we have neglected to foster the most basic human needs of love, kindness, cooperation and caring. The development of human society is based entirely on people helping each other. Once we have lost the essential humanity that is our foundation, what is the point of pursuing only material improvement?

Servant leadership puts emphasis on serving others, whether customers, employees, or community, as the number one priority in the business. Servant leadership emphasizes increased service to others, a holistic approach to work, promoting a sense of community, and the sharing of power in decision making. At its core, servant leadership is not a quick fix or magic bullet to organizational leadership. It is, however, a transformational approach to life and work and has the potential to create positive change throughout society.

Servant leadership deals with a reality of power in everyday life, its legitimacy, the ethical restraints upon it and the beneficial results that can be attained through the appropriate use of power. Servant leaders are those who serve with a focus on the others, the servant leader leads and serves with an altruistic approach. This leader also empowers others, acts with humility, exhibits love, leads with service, is trusting, and is a visionary for others.

Servant Leaders help others selflessly just for the sake of helping, which involves personal sacrifice, even though there is no personal gain. The traditional view of altruism as an unselfish concern for others often involves personal sacrifices; however the servant leader gets personal pleasure in helping others. This is the true understanding of altruism.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inner Fitness

When we talk about inner fitness, it is not about any fitness regime concerned with health, we are concerned with inside calmness and inner stability, I believe that if this aspect of inner fitness is there health automatically follows. We have to make this inner stability, this peace as an integral part of our personality. This is from where the true leadership also begins.

The concept of inner fitness is directly related with spirituality and spirituality plays an important role in enhancing our professional lives. The real bottom line in business is spiritual and personal growth. As the business world becomes more complex and demanding, there is a need for a stronger foundation on which to build a professional life, job, or career. Principles that influence the quality of passionate work; how to absorb them into daily practice? Spiritual/ inner fitness increases energy, reduces absenteeism, improve sleep and mental outlook and overall health.

We live with so many wrong beliefs all of our lives, one of such beliefs I was living with was: "peaceful are those, who are weak, who are powerless. If I am calm and peaceful people will walk over me”. But this is not true it is a wrong belief, rather peace is actually for strong people, inner peace itself gives a lot of power, and rather anger depicts loss of power. In a leadership position one has to know the difference between assertiveness and submissiveness. Assertiveness indicates inner stability and putting your point straight forward, where as submissiveness creates turmoil inside and is represented with anger or fear outside. Fear paralyzes and one can not find the right solution.

There should be times when we should choose to be quiet because there is no benefit in getting angry at that situation. And if there is any task to be done, the request should be clear and straight forward. When we chose to be quiet, we shall be stable inside and can listen to the whole situation in a way finding, and solving the issue rather than messing it up further.

Now there is another wrong belief which most of us live with: “If I am quiet- I lost!” Question is what do I want to win? What is winning and losing? In the game of life we are all together we are not competing. If we have to loose something we have to loose our anger and fear; our jealousy and proud. Our life is our own choice- what we want? Then I win. I win over the illusion that life is not a race or a competition. My journey is my own, on this road of life, I am driving my own vehicle.

How do we as individuals and organizations survive and thrive amid tremendous change and transition? The key to dealing with transitions is having a changeless, principle-centered core. Learn to see change as a challenge, not as a threat. During a challenge we should learn how to develop our internal compass and use it as a source of security, guidance, wisdom and power.

Internal compass or inner fitness can be developed by following simple steps, number one is to let go of suffering, mental noise and anxiety. We miss so much when our minds are cluttered with events of the past and anticipation of the future. The energy we give to things that are not part of the present is wasted and blocks us from seeing and experiencing what is right in front of us.

When we have inner stability we can create the life we want not how others dictate or want our life to be. It is a life free from anxiety, disturbance and irritation. The right thoughts will create the right words, right words will create the right actions, and right actions will create the right harmony in our life. With right thoughts, actions and behavior we are creating a peaceful, content and happy life. Let us take out time to feel the love and support which already exists around us. Listen for the still, small voice within and be open and receptive to the answers we seek. Then the path we travel shall be filled with the fragrant sweet smell of roses.

Our peace and inner stability is checked the moment somebody shouts at us! Or the moment a challenging situation arises? How do we react at that time is the true test of all the lessons learnt, that is the true test on the scale of spirituality where we stand. In the small, small situations we face daily! Normally we shout – to attract attention, but if we show and have acceptance towards others, then why to waste our valuable energy in getting angry?

Step on the path of knowing thy SELF and we will reach greater heights of success, creativity and joy; feeling more spiritually radiant. I have heard that happiness resides within us and have believed it. I must say profound, to experience our true happiness and to find the place within us it radiates from, has nothing to do with people, places, or conditions in the external world.

When we see, and admit, our essential powerlessness to provide for ourselves what we believe can make us happy. This is a necessary stage in our spiritual development: to realize we don't have a clue how to help ourselves become whole. This discovery alone makes it possible for us to learn real patience and inner calmness.