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In my recent paper, The Servant Led Family (2012), I discussed various servant leadership concepts covered in the first section of this course I wanted to implement within my family.  I applied these concepts to the leadership improvement process used by Hunter (2004) in his consultation work with individuals and teams who want to strengthen their servant leadership skills.  In this paper, I intend to reflect more deeply upon this improvement process and why I chose to utilize it with my family.

Hunter’s (2004, p. 172) three-step leadership improvement process is based upon a quality model he was introduced to in the early 1980s. It consists of first defining the specifications, then identifying any deviations from the specifications, and finally eliminating the deviations.  To this model Hunter inserted what he considers vital to ensuring long-term behavior change, the Three Fs: foundation, feedback, and friction.

Long-term behavior change is the key phrase in this process.  My husband and I have been lax when it comes to developing solid interpersonal behaviors within our family.  Even though we share a life together, the three of us have operated independently of one another for over 10 years.  During that time we have developed dysfunctional habits that need changing so we can be more supportive of one another in achieving our full potential as individuals and as a family.  These well developed bad habits are not going to go away quickly.

This is why I proposed a structured improvement process for our family.  These long-term, poor interpersonal habits are not going to vanish simply by being aware of them.  There may be a short-term shift towards the positive if each individual attempts to change the way they interact with the others, but chances are we will revert back to old habits.  It is only in supporting each other through a structured change process that servant leaders will develop.

It has been half a month since I envisioned what our servant led family would look like and how we would reach our destination.  During this time, our son went away to camp and has come back a changed man; he is more respectful and engaging.  It is apparent he began doing the inner work necessary in building the foundation of authenticity.  However, in order for these changes to become new habits they need to be reinforced by the rest of the family through feedback and friction, in other words, active accountability.  To ensure it is done in a healthy, positive way, the structured process I outlined in The Servant Led Family is the most effective method.

My prayer is we each do our own inner work soon so we can come together as a family this fall to support each other as servant leaders. Then feedback will be offered and received with respect and dignity, and the resulting friction will be the catalyst for long-term behavior change.

References

Clements Orlan, K. S. (2012). The servant led family. Informally published manuscript, Master of Arts in Servant Leadership, Viterbo University, La Crosse, WI, Retrieved from https://kristaclementsorlan.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/the-servant-lead-family/

Hunter, J. C. (2004). The world’s most powerful leadership principle: How to become a servant leader. New Your, NY: Crown Business.

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