The main point, I'm gathering, is to think of leadership as a service role. One of the questions Dahl presents is to ask yourself, "who do you serve?" Dahl comments that many leaders expect others to serve them; according to Dahl, in the servant-leader model, leaders should think of who they serve.
Attributes of a servant-leader that Dahl mentions include:
Ask questions to build understanding
Judge performance, not personality; Show concern for the whole life of the employee
Toxic situations/institutions do contaminate; Model your own healing; Take care of yourself
"The unexamined life is not worth living"; make your words consistent with your actions; be emotionally observant
Don't rely on coercion or force; convince and seek consensus; share success
Long-range thinking; do a little dreaming; "see things whole" - E. B. White
Take advantage of intuition; link the past, present, and future
More than simply profit-making; take into account the needs of others.
- Commitment to the growth of others
All employees have an intrinsic value beyond their work contribution; support their growth to build the team; support the decisions of others
- Building communities
Use your gifts to better social institutions; we are diminished when we limit our liability to the group; generate an exportable surplus of love
Dahl drew from analogies from Abraham Lincoln's presidency, including how Lincoln named many of his opponents in the presidential race to his cabinet. A reading of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was an example of foresight.
Dahl compared circle models of leadership to the pyramid style, and the idea of the ripple effect of modeling servant-leader behavior. In the question/answer period, Dahl revealed he had been a pastor previously, which leads one to believe that he comes to this concept somewhat naturally. A participant suggested that humility is a part of all of this, and he agreed; another participant reflected that it also required confidence - confidence in yourself as well as confidence in your colleagues. It highlighted a connection to me that successful work environments I've been in have been more collegial, where the staff trust each other. Like at MCTC.