Are you curious?
Do you serve the people you lead? Do you serve – first?
Do you read books?
Three seemingly random questions. But they are questions that have “popped” onto my radar in recent days.
First, the “are you curious?” question. In The Second Machine Age, the authors describe how an unusually high percentage of modern-day successful entrepreneurs went through the Montessori Schools. And they talk about the emphasis such schools place on nurturing a student’s curiosity.
eager to know or learn something.
a strong desire to know or learn something.
the desire to learn or know more about something or someone — something that is interesting because it is unusual.
I think I agree with this. It is a good thing to be “eager to learn,” especially something that is interesting because it is unusual.
This is a golden age for the curious. In the tap of your touchscreen, you can have articles, and/or sample pages of books, in seconds, to help feed your desire and eagerness to learn. I have found that I “taste” a much wider array of books since I got my iPad with my Kindle App. I am feeding my curiosity as never before.
Second, the “do you serve the people you lead?” question. After last Friday’s First Friday Book Synopsis, one of our participants introduced himself as something of a “Servant Leader” consultant. He has been through the training at the Greenleaf Institute, and helps companies, and leaders, with their servant leadership challenges.
In case you don’t remember, Robert Greenleaf coined the phrase Servant Leadership. From his seminal book, Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness, 1977:
We live in the age of the anti-leader, and our vast educational structure devotes very little care to nurturing leaders or to understanding followership.
The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first. The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types.
We talked about the idea of the servant leader. This leader is the one we all want to serve under. And, one simple test: is the leader concerned about the well-being of the people he/she leads, or about his/her own advancement and reputation?
If you are a leader, please care about the people you lead. Serve them. Be servant first – and then everything else.
Third, the “do you read books?” question.
I was talking to a person who works in organizational development. He is constantly involved in training the supervisors and managers in his organization. He gives them a book (a specific, good book) in his first class for each group, which he refers to in the training.
He has made a startling discovery. For more than a few of the participants, it is the first book they have read in a very long time. They have no books on their reading list. Their desks/offices have no books on display.
So, he encourages them to leave this book out, for others to see. Then he encourages them to buy, and read, other books. He gives them suggestions. And, he encourages them to start their own leadership library. To always keep a good book out, and to read, at least a little, constantly.
He is, to put it mildly, appalled at how few books they have read.
Now, there are people who have read plenty of books who are not all that great at leading people. In other words, reading books does not guarantee great leadership.
But… there is a reason why some “clichés” become clichés. There is usually plenty of truth in the well-known cliché. So, remember this one:
So, here are your three questions for the day;
Are you curious?
Are you a servant leader?
Do you read books?