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The following may be useful to inner leaders to gain experience in serving their followers and teaching them to serve others.

Activity 1: Create a Story

Instructions. Much of the work inner leaders do is in aid of getting their stakeholders to perform higher levels of service to each other, to customers, and to the larger community of which they are a part. One way to do this is to create and promulgate stories that highlight service and illustrate its importance in the work of the work community.

  1. Think about your work community; its leaders; all stakeholders; and the programs, products, and services they collectively provide.

  2. Recall a story (or stories) prevalent in your community that emphasizes service. Recast that story to bring it up to date while still respecting its essential character, values, and intent to highlight service values.

  3. If you cannot think of a currently widespread story, create a new story that illustrates and illuminates the service values held by your work community and helps define it as a unique place in which to work.

  4. Consider sharing the story with your work colleagues.

Activity 2: “Counciling-With” Others

Instructions. For stewardship patterns to work up and down the organization, new ways of viewing the leader–follower interaction are necessary. Counciling-with followers is a new insight into the relationship between leader and follower that Fairholm (1991) developed a decade ago. Sitting-in-council with followers puts the leader and follower together in an equal, sharing relationship, both committed to the success of the work community and both caring for the values of the others. Ideas flow freely as influence shifts from person to person. Any or all may propose or alter ideas, methods, problems, and solutions.

This is not counseling—unilateral action taken by the counselor toward the other person. Counciling-with followers, rather is finding out together what is right, proper, and needed. This shared approach is often discussed in terms of participatory or democratic approaches to management.

Respond to the following questions from the perspective of your present work situation.

  1. When talking with coworkers, do I tell them things and encourage a sharing of information?

  2. Do I encourage group discussions and facilitate group dynamics?

  3. Do coworkers frequently exchange ideas with me?

  4. Do I have the self-esteem to allow others to have good ideas and take the lead at times?

  5. Am I able to synthesize group information and formulate decisions or next steps?

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