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The Servant

愛、生活、人生系列
2021-09-06
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With an introduction on using the principles in our life and career, this book redefines what it means to be a leader. In this absorbing tale, we watch the timeless principles of servant leadership unfold through the story of John Daily, a businessman whose outwardly successful life is spiraling out of control. He is failing miserably in each of his leadership roles as boss, husband, father, and coach. To get his life back on track, he reluctantly attends a weeklong leadership retreat at a remote Benedictine monastery.
   To John’s surprise, the monk leading the seminar is a former business executive and Wall Street legend. Taking John under his wing, the monk guides him to a realization that is simple yet profound: The true foundation of leadership is not power, but authority, which is built upon relationships, love, service, and sacrifice.
   Along with John, we learn that the principles in this book are neither new nor complex. They don’t demand special talents; they are simply based on strengthening the bonds of respect, responsibility, and caring with the people around us. The book’s message can be applied by anyone, anywhere—at home or at work. It is filled with smart and wise observations. It is written in the form of a parable/fable. Here is a brief summary of the story:
   A businessman, John, a “leader,” is not doing so well. He finally takes a week to go off to a spiritual retreat center, where he falls under the leadership of Simeon, a teacher who left a very successful business career and became a monk after the death of his wife. While at the retreat center, Simeon taught John, and a small group of other leaders, the importance of and the path toward genuine servant leadership.
The four stages of habits--all habits (good and bad)--move predictably through four stages, and developing character/leadership skills is no exception. (We can discipline ourselves to do what is unnatural until it becomes natural and a habit).
Stage 1--Unconscious/unskilled: The person is unaware and therefore unskilled in the habit.
Stage 2--Conscious/unskilled: The person is aware but not good at it.
Stage 3--Conscious/skilled: The person is aware and starting to become skilled.
Stage 4--Unconscious/skilled: It’s now drilled into your game.
In this book, the author clearly and simply defines “leadership,” i.e., the skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically toward goals identified as being for the common good: Simply put, leadership is about getting things done through people.” 
One of leadership practices is that leaders have to get very good at listening. Here’s a part of the dialogues between Simeon and John: “All my working life, I listened to people tell me how their employees were their most valuable asset. But their actions always spoke their true beliefs: people talk a lot alike, but it’s often only lip service. Actions speak louder than words. Intentions + Actions = Will.”
“When we publicly punish someone, we obviously have embarrassed them in front of their peers, and that is a huge withdrawal out of our account with them. When we publicly praise, appreciate, and recognize others, we not only make a deposit into our account with the recipient of the praise, but also make deposits into the accounts we have with those watching.”
Here are the lessons:
#1--“You begin with a choice.” Will you serve the people you lead?
#2--Servant Leaders serve first by listening (and noticing).
#3--Servant Leaders always love, i.e., loving actions is the center of their leadership philosophy.
#4--Servant Leaders always provide an environment that encourages and enables the people they lead to flourish and grow in their work and in their lives.
   Management is not something we do to other people. We manage our inventory, our checkbook, our resources, too. We can even manage ourselves. When we manage our things, we lead people.
約翰.達利看似一位事業成功的高階主管,卻正面臨對自身領導能力的考驗。無論擔當上司、丈夫、父親或教練等不同的生活角色,於公於私,他竟只落得失職的評價!為了探究問題所在,重拾往日風采,約翰無奈地前往一所僻靜的修道院,參加為期一週的領導課程。
出乎意料的是,負責課程的僧人,居然曾是叱吒華爾街的風雲大亨!在講師的諄諄引導下,他豁然悟出既簡單又深遠的基本理論:領導的基礎不在權力,而在授權;領導是以人際關係、關懷、服務與奉獻為出發點的。約翰所經歷的學習過程,傳遞出書中的主旨:真正的領導,無關乎個人的才能高下,亦無須新穎的複雜理論,而是扎根在日常的生活裡,從尊重、負責與體貼他人開始。無論何時何地,人人都可以身體力行。
書中的內容如下:
一、西面修士的高貴靈性
書中細緻地描繪長者講師西面修士的高貴靈性與品格:「他渾身散發著無人能及的靈性智慧,不但不帶有宗教色彩,他的品格脫俗高潔,世上無人能及,他整個人充滿喜樂。他的體能狀況很好,臉色紅潤,一雙炯炯有神的眼睛,清澈得像海一樣藍,彷彿可以洞悉人心,卻又洋溢著無限關懷。他晶亮的雙眼和全身散發出來的靈性和風采,卻又十足像個天真的孩童。」
二、威權與威信
書中解釋威權(power)與威信(authority)之間的差異,它引述小孩為什麼會有叛逆行為,是因為父親以威權來教養自己的小孩。「威權對關係的破壞可大了,行使威權,或許可保一時的風平浪靜,甚至還可以達成目標,但是日積月累之後,關係也就破壞殆盡了。」在現實社會中,我們以為有了權力,就有了一切,於是強迫他人照著自己的決心行事,而非讓他人心甘情願地,照著他自己的決心行事。
三、欲望與需要
領導人必須找出並滿足部屬的基本需要(need),但不是滿足部屬的所有欲望(want)。「工廠裡的員工老是要求加薪,要是照辦,加到一小時二十美元,因無法競爭,工廠一定不久就關門大吉。到頭來,或許滿足員工的欲望加了薪,但卻無法滿足他們的真正需求--穩定的工作。」在家庭關係上也是如此,做父親的,身為家庭領導者,必須滿足孩子的基本需求,但也可以適度拒絕他們無窮的欲望。
四、愛的真義
愛是動詞,而非名詞;它指的是愛的行動,而非愛的感覺。《新約聖經》對愛的解釋是,在〈哥林多前書〉第十三章:「愛是恆久忍耐,又有恩慈;愛是不嫉妒,愛是不自誇,不張狂,不做害羞的事,不求自己的益處,不輕易發怒,不計算人的惡,不喜歡不義,只喜歡真理;凡事包容,凡事相信,凡事盼望,凡事忍耐,愛是永不止息。」愛是「忍耐、恩慈、謙卑、尊重、無私、寬恕、誠實、守信」,每一項特質都是行為而非感覺。
本書幫助我們建立正面積極的思想和觀念,鼓勵大家都能開始練習愛的行為,願意為他人犧牲奉獻,成為卓越的領導人,培養脫俗高尚的品格特質,享受完美的人生。

 

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