Teacher’s notes on values of servant leadership

Through different periods of life a person has had different purposes. In childhood, for example, our purposes are to get knowledge, to obey and respect our parents; in a teenage period people start to think about their future professions.

So some example purposes can be to take care of oneself and your family, to give knowledge to others and improve one’s own, to share love and experience and get the same from the people who surround us, from the people we work, live or study with.

There are more than two places where the person can contribute his help, attention and soul. They can be home and work place. We serve our family members, our colleagues, students, etc.

As for our families, we follow our household chores, duties and responsibilities.

As for our colleagues at the university, we show respect to each other, no matter what kind of misunderstanding we might have got. It is really challenging to work in a team. People should be always willing to help. We share our teaching materials, pieces of advice, etc. We work with the students when their teachers from our department ask us to cover them up, or when they have got some problems. During the breaks we are fond of tea drinking and discussing the current news, life events and our work. We celebrate national holidays and birthdays of each other. It really unites us.

And the last but not the least, we serve our students. We teach them different aspects of the English language. We share our lives and academic experience with them. We want them to become good professionals and citizens of the country. We believe in all the best that they own in their inner world.

At the beginning of the semester we discussed three main values with our first year students. They are honesty, trust and respect. The reason for this conversation was their cheating with their home work. Their actions made us think over and talk with them about these values. We explained to them that if they behave dishonestly, so our trust and respect for them decrease. If they do it at the university they will do worse in their adult life. They understood and apologized. Since that day some of them haven’t stopped cheating.

It is well-known that today’s students are difficult to nurture, but still there are individuals who can be changed, though not completely. With our personal example we show our students what is good and bad, what is worth doing and what a waste of time, etc.

We know that usually students remember better their school teachers. We should try to do our best to be remembered by our students in the future.

To be frank, we can say that one’s purpose can be simple or complicated, long-term or short-term, global or private. First of all, the fulfillment of the purpose must bring only benefit and goodness to other people.

Forgiveness can be one of the steps of settling the conflict or splitting up with the person. Together with forgiveness one should thank the very person and say “Good-bye” to him or her. It is not necessary to do it face-toface. One can write a letter, send it or burn it and feel relieved.

Personal self-esteem and pride make the action of forgiveness difficult to realize. There are people who think that they are always right and who will never admit their wrongness. So they wait for other people’s first steps that can take a long time. On the contrary, there are also people who always forgive others and the other people can easily hurt or offend them without feeling regret.

Forgiveness is also one of the steps of problem solving process. In this case people usually want to find the person to be blamed but not the reason of the problem. Love is forgiving and if people love each other, they usually forgive and develop their future relationship.

On our Leadership courses Dan Ballast explained to us that “to forgive” consists of two words – “give” and ”for”.

When you forgive somebody, you let him or her enter your heart and your inside world again. Now this person has got a new quality. He is forgiven. He is given another chance to prove his loyalty and devotion.

Forgiving can be compared with giving a hand to a person who can see a good servant leader next to him.

In case of forgiveness, the following steps could be taken: thinking, comparing, talking and acting. First of all, you should think over the problem, question, matter or offence. You should sort out all the messy thoughts in your head. Then take the time to compare all pros and cons of reestablishing the previous relationship with your offender. Having completed it successfully, you can turn to the talk with the person face-to-face. You should listen to and follow the other person’s opinion. Forgiving will be the last step to complete in the conflict.

Trust is such a quality that is difficult to acquire and easy to lose. Trust is a kind of award given to a person for his actions, positive and caring toward the people. Regained trust is more fragile than it used to be. It has got less and less chances to survive after the consecutive misdeed, adultery and betrayal. Adultery in marriage and betrayal of the best friends are considered to be the most complicated things to forgive and forget.

Best friends must not betray each other, but if they do, their characteristic of the best loses its significance. The best one becomes the good, the good becomes just a friend, and finally, a friend may become a “what-is-hisname” pal or a distant acquaintance.

To summarize all the points, it depends on the person – when, where, whom and how to forgive. It deals with our spiritual world and balance. One can forgive without continuing the relationship with a person. The person you cannot forgive may live further without it, so it becomes your overwhelming feeling that you can let go or keep inside your heart for the rest of the life.

There can be two main places in our life where we can be ourselves: our house and our work place. The safest one is our home. Our room, our private space helps me to relax and regain the energy we need to prepare for the next day.

All of family members are open-minded and sociable people. When they face different problems they discuss them together and try to find a good way out. Family is known to be a unit of society. Family is a constant work of every member in the unit. Family unites people and is the first group of people who will help you and accept all your good and bad features. Even criminals have got fathers and mothers. It is difficult to create a good family because we should count many aspects and factors. Such as standard of living, personal qualities, place and time of living, personal life and work experience, etc. Family is a responsibility that every member of the community can take and share with others. It is hard to create something as we don’t live in utopian world and every process, especially creation and maintenance of something new needs time. And some factors can be welldeveloped, others – less. We should not forget about clashes of opinion, interests and tastes.

Being a good member of a community requires patience, mutual understanding and being ready to compromise.

Safety is supposed to be the original need that is complicated to provide and easy to undermine. Work is another sphere of life where we have got specific rules of behavior, the policy, the concrete number of stuff, the place and mission. The principle of “a safe place” is not developed form the first day. For example, the founders of the company can spend dozens of years to become “safe communities”, but one simple change at work can make everything be turned upside down. New employees can reform the previous idea of safety and start setting their own principles and rules.

To become a safe place for a community is possible but for a short period of time. The bigger and more multinational the company is, the more troublesome is to make people become a family. Small businesses get adjusted easily. They make friends faster and it takes less time to turn the very person for help and solve the problem. Good and proper work conditions should be provided in order the workers can feel safe and cared. The need must be satisfied, complaints listened and salaries raised.

As servant leaders, we would get to know our employees, both professionally and personally. We shouldn’t rely on other employees’ opinions only, but rely also on our experience and intuition. We should find what their needs are. Sharing responsibility, common going outs, celebrating holidays, improving the workers’ qualifications and following the modern technology development – all these items promote “a safe place”.

We do a community while working and socializing together. The work conditions and supplies could be perfect and well-planned, but the staff could be out of place and badlyqualified, and vice versa. There can be a few places where a person can feel free, accepted and supported, so this place is built by two parties.

Power has always been a cornerstone of any community, government, or a tribe. Our society has developed from the primitive level to high-tech civilization. Early aristocracy and nobility were all-powerful and almighty, and only the chosen candidates were empowered by them. Social status and material welfare were the main criteria to get the right in the government.

On the contrary, today power is in the hands of well-educated, responsible, and hardworking people. Still financial status is not odd here. Honest government officials are not corrupted and spoilt by the authority. Any leader chooses their own group of followers and supporters, who must prove their worth and reliability. So the first thing to do is to set a number of criteria of workers’ empowerment.

Secondly, giving a chance and monitoring your employees work are vital. Empowerment is not appropriate for everyone. Theoretically, everyone can be a potential leader, but in practice it is not so easy to do. Some are good at management; some are good at obeying and being directed. Meanwhile, some workers can be over-confident or ambitious and, having obtained some part of power, they could fail to realize it properly and end up damaging the system.

Empowerment is really controversial and tricky. The leader should bear in mind all the consequences (good or bad) and changes that can be caused by the wrong or right action. Keeping one’s power depends on many factors: work conditions, qualifications, the personnel, etc. Personal reputation and the people who support you, the actions which correspond to your words – all these things provide a long life for one’s power.

Governors can be dismissed; bosses – fired; new governors and freshmen bosses can be chosen and hired.One must not overdo with being all-powerful. Power can bring you down to the earth or promote you to the top management, if you know how to deal with it.

“Vision is a wise understanding of the future” (Longman Dictionary). There are professions where you keep studying everything and every time. You find yourself to be a constant learner of life and work. Our beginner’s wisdom of seeing the present and the future allows us to compare it with the previous experience and not to repeat the same mistakes.

Our vision is closely connected with our great hope and belief in all the best qualities of our students and colleagues. These are honesty, responsibility, kind-heartedness, intelligence, etc.

Our vision is that proper education is not for unworthy students. A good number of students study only because of the diploma, but not knowledge. Well-off parents and good connections provide them with all the things they need. So they don’t value teachers and their work.

Meanwhile, worthy students achieve everything by themselves. They know the value of their work and education. Such students appreciate both teacher’s work and efforts. We had the same situation, but students’ values and needs were quite different. Teacher’s status was indisputable and highlyappreciated. But today the students can quarrel with their teacher and complain about him/her to the dean or other teachers directly. Also a lot of work was written down but not copied from the book and clued in the note-book. Students visited libraries and museums oftener than they do today. These and many other points can cause the clash of opinions and cultures.

Our vision implies molding of students’ minds into complete understanding of the significance of getting education. They should study in the very way in order not to feel ashamed in the future. We work hard to achieve our goal and expect the same from our students. Every now and then we speak to our students and try to make them get our message: getting good education requires constant hard work and attention. The main difficulties can be clash or difference in views and values, authority distance and students’ empowerment.

It needs time and long hours of discussion in order to find compromise between two generations. At our university authority distance is very narrow. The deans are always available and open for our students. They usually try to help and support then in any difficult situation. A lot of students feel absolutely free and empowered, so they do not pay too much respect for teacher’s work.

Our vision is to become one team where everyone can be tolerant and responsive to others, where the power can be equally distributed and all the team members would have the same common expectations from each other. One person makes the difference.

In order to build a good community we should have supporters and followers of our vision. United we rise, divided we fall. Everyone should follow one common mission, the wise vision of which will bring us a safe and flawless future.

As an example of local leader and his/her employees we can take head doctor’s status and their staff. The longer they work the stronger and more reliable their relations are. One team was asked to answer the questions about their need analysis and job satisfaction.

Their work place was situated in the outskirts of town. It was a hospital the main function of which was to produce health care service for local and city patients. Twenty nine people worked for one common goal – to cure people. The main mission of the organization was to take a pro-active approach in making the population healthy. As a leader, head of the department, the head doctor’s main responsibility was to control and monitor the work of the medical establishment, to make up and review reports; carry out health care service, vaccination and patients’ examination.

Their branch held a medical sanitary service. It may sound surprising, but they did not have any written values. There was only one unwritten value that was personal health. To improve all the necessary qualifications the medical employees were sent to complete different business trips or academic courses usually within the borders of their country. Moreover, there were various programs for workers’ medical examination and further treatment. A head doctor combined both manager’s and leader’s qualities. Top administration of the hospital required good managerial skills, whilst the co-workers saw them as a good leader who could always encourage and inspire them. Education and professionalism help to manage and cope with the business they are in. If we take interpersonal relationship at work, doctors work as servant leaders.

People and health care service are the main working issues that stimulates the governmental work. It is always difficult to be just and fair to patients and colleagues if they have got any disagreement. Doctors are not highly paid in Kazakhstan in comparison with other countries. That is why if money was the only advantage in this profession, doctors would not have been working so long on one place.

Being a leader and a manager is challenging, rewarding and thought-provoking. Leaders are empowered people who can direct others and control the activities of theirs.

Two sheets with answers were analyzed and compared. The results of the questionnaires were almost the same. According to the employees' answers, the main role of their organization is medical service that is appropriate and urgent. The main values are supposed to be competence, integrity and clarity, understanding of the thing you do. The majority of people are fond of helping people, curing and getting success and positive result in the end. In their turn, the managers are able to organize the work, increase its' level, teamwork, follow all the rules and regulations of behavior, that is adequate to the patients. Most workers see their work place as a safe place for them, the place where they can speak their mind without being judged. They are free to share their views and empowered to realize them. Organizational culture and business promotion help the workers to develop on their own. To summarize all the said, I can say that people and their professionalism cannot be separated from personal features are the main values and issues for the very type of the company.



  1. Academic Leader, Magna Publications, Madison, Wisc. Phone (800) 433-0499. An outrageously expensive monthly newsletter for academic deans and department chairs, with news briefs and occasional cases. Lynn Little's columns justify the cost.
  2. Conway, John B. On Being a Department Head: A Personal View, American Mathematical Society, 1996. A short book with advice delivered in a witty style; for example, "Our first piece of advice on ethics is that you should have some."
  3. Eble, Kenneth E. The Art of Administration, Jossey-Bass, 1978. A pleasant companion to The Craft of Teaching, also written by Eble. Combines down-to-earth advice with calls for department chairs to be a "visible and vocal presence," articulating educational values and ideals. Somewhat dated.
  4. Hecht, Irene W. D., Higgerson, Mary Lou, Gmelch, Walter H., and Tucker, Allan. The Department Chair As Academic Leader, Oryx Press, 1999. Identifies new roles for department chairs because of changing student demographics, the need for collaboration and collective effort, and the contemporary emphasis on student learning. Mostly descriptive, rather than prescriptive. Good advice on performance counseling (performance reviews) and on strategic planning.
  5. Higgerson, Mary Lou. Communication Skills for Department Chairs, Anker Publishing, 1996. Not just communication skills. Includes chapters on departmental culture, performance counseling, managing conflict, implementing change, and working with external parties. Numerous case studies.
Year: 2013
City: Almaty
Category: Philology