Leaders need to embody the values of the generations they serve and through implementing the 7Cs model of social change and service learning this can become a reality!
Too often, those leaders who rise to the top are viewed by their followers as having a God complex. Followers joke around water coolers, on Facebook posts, and at holiday parties about their attitude. The common understanding is that these leaders take themselves too seriously.
Leaders who perpetuate this stereotype behave with a sense of entitlement. They concentrate on being respected for what they have done in the past, rather than for what they will do in the future. Below are some unintended consequences of their actions:
- Decreased Worker Productivity
- Social Media Restraints out of Fear of Criticism
- Internal Follower Resistance of Leaders
- Unspoken Disagreements in Organizations
Ultimately, the problem is that because so many leaders take themselves too seriously, their ideas don’t get full recognition and organizations lose out. What can companies do to help leaders manage their egos and inspire their leadership team and empower all employees to be leaders?
“The intention of positive social change is at the heart of leadership, regardless of the outcome” (Komives and Wagner, p. 53). The Social Change Model provides a framework for how an organization can promote involvement of its leaders in their community utilizing service learning and thus create better leadership within the organization. The 7Cs of the model can be used to promote service learning within an organization. The 7Cs are divided into Group Values, Individual Values, and Society/Community Values.
By implementing the 7Cs in an organization, the organization will not only develop a successful service learning opportunity but will develop their leaders. The development of social change leadership skills will lead to higher productivity, lower turnover, an understanding of an organization’s mission, vision, and values, a respect for diversity, development of collaboration and listening skills, and better conflict resolution skills. Employees will gain a respect for their supervisors. The organization as a whole will also develop strategies for dealing with change, and promote patience with change, and acceptance of change among all its members.
· Common Purpose: Establish the reason why executives are implementing service learning in an organization. Gain a commitment from leaders in the organization and ensure everyone is on board. This will lead to leaders with increased decision making skills, creative thinking skills, and employees who can work with others and collaborate.
· Collaboration: Involve leaders in the decision making process when designing service learning opportunities. Collaboration will lead to leaders who work better together and can generate effective solutions to problems an organization faces.
· Controversy with Civility: Promotion of an environment where everyone is free to share ideas and individual viewpoints are viewed as a way to contribute to success. Inclusiveness, commitment, and a sense of purpose develop as a result of controversy with civility. Leaders develop active listening skills, communication skills, as well as mediation and negotiation skills.
· Consciousness of Self: Service-learning allows your leaders to gain a value of themselves as well as others. It promotes an understanding of how change occurs within an organization. Organizations will develop leaders with openness for feedback, readiness for change, and commitment to social change.
· Congruence: An organization explores what the personal values of its members are. Leaders develop a commitment to self-evaluation, and begin to respect the differences of others.
· Commitment: Organizations gain a commitment from leaders based on personal beliefs and values for the service learning opportunity. Leaders develop a passion, internal motivation, and discipline themselves and gain a commitment from the employees they supervise.
· Citizenship: The organization promotes community building, social responsibility, and rights and responsibility. Leaders develop optimism, appreciation for diversity, and an ethic of care, empathy, and creativity by promoting citizenship.
Adapted from Leadership for a Better World (2004) by Susan Komives and Wendy Wagner
Develop Service Learning Leaders in your Organization
The Application can be used by upper management and/or middle management and their respecting team/s.
· Conduct a preliminary evaluation of all leaders involved in the service learning initiative by designing a evaluation based on the rubric provided
· All participants should use the pretest to evaluate their own skills
· Each participants immediate supervisor should also use the pretest to evaluate their employee’s skills
· This needs to be conducted before Step 1
The team leader/manager/executive should:
· Introduce to the team the concept of service learning
· Discuss the organizational mission, vision and goals in relation to potential service learning projects
· Brainstorm ideas about potential service learning projects within the community that the organization either resides or operates
· Distribute to all team members the “Service Learning Card”
· Allow time for team members to anonymously fill the card and then collect the results
· The team leader records all the team members’ selections and the group consensus in regards to the “Team Service Learning Project”
· Implement the service Learning Project
o Contact the relevant organization you are planning to implement your service learning project
o Decide on the length of the project depending on the nature of the project and the number of team members
o Allocate tasks and time slots for the service learning activities
Note: Service learning activities should take place during work time, i.e. 2 hours of tutoring in the community center per week
· Share Your Results
o Elicit feedback from the leaders involved in the service learning initiative
o Depending on the size and resources available, this can be through
§ Focus groups composed of people from different divisions within the organization
§ Feedback surveys
§ Or other methods developed by the organization
o All this can be implemented during a “Service Learning Week” or embedded in other organizational activities
o Compile the feedback and distribute to all leaders to review
· Six months after the service learning initiative, administer the evaluation that you designed as your pretest again
· All participants should evaluate their own skills
· Each participants immediate supervisor should also evaluate their employee’s skills
· Utilize the team reports and the evaluation of leaders to determine what worked well and what needs to be changed in future projects
· Combine the feedback results you received from the leaders and the evaluations of employees skills to develop a plan for future service initiatives
The team leader/manager/executive should:
- Introduce to the team the concept of service learning
- Discuss the organizational mission, vision and goals in relation to potential service learning projects
- Brainstorm ideas about potential service learning projects within the community that the organization either resides or operates