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InfoQ Homepage Podcasts Bernie Maloney on Servant Leadership and Bringing out Human Potential

Bernie Maloney on Servant Leadership and Bringing out Human Potential

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In this podcast Shane Hastie, Lead Editor for Culture & Methods, spoke to Bernie Maloney of Persistent Systems about servant leadership and bringing out human potential.

Key Takeaways

  • Servant leadership is about compassion and empathy
  • Servant leadership is necessary in the complex business world of today
  • Servant leadership is about creating a space through which other people can succeed and stepping back to let them do so
  • The way of organizing work for known problems and predictable solutions doesn’t work for complex problems
  • Agile approaches tap into human capability and make “twice the value in half the time” possible but it takes reframing our reality

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  • 0:37 Introductions
  • 1:25 Being inspired to explore and practice servant leadership 
  • 2:03 Servant leadership matters because of empathy and compassion 
  • 2:28 When identifying personas for products empathy with the customer is crucial to success
  • 2:37 Creating cross-functional teams puts people out of their comfort zone and it is necessary to create a space for people to succeed 
  • 3:07 Servant leadership is actually really good leadership 
  • 3:29 It’s about creating a space through which other people can succeed and stepping back to let them do so   
  • 4:03 Exploring the need to bring out human potential referencing Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow
  • 4:26 The difference between the amount of information available to us and the rate at which our brains can process it
  • 5:02 Helping make the shift from “we can’t do that” to “how can we do that” 
  • 5:20 The story of helping someone overcome fears in a short coaching session
  • 5:48 Agile approaches tap into human capability and make “twice the value in half the time” possible but it takes reframing our reality
  • 6:12 This is about questioning and challenging your assumptions   
  • 6:58 “Doing the right thing” can result in more complex solutions than are needed 
  • 7:46 Exploring scenarios complexity as a way to identify the nature of work and ways of organizing 
  • 9:15 The frequent response of “That’s exactly what I asked for, but what I really needed was…”
  • 9:34 The way of organizing work for known problems and predictable solutions doesn’t work for complex problems 
  • 10:05 Organizations that don’t change to the new ways of working are being disrupted out of existence 
  • 10:35 At a societal level we are moving faster – reference Power of Pull
  • 10:52 Value in the modern world comes from the shared network of information 
  • 11:20 We need to learn new ways of working – collaboration over individual specialization 
  • 11:40 Quoting “Specialization leads to lack of accountability” 
  • 12:25 Implications for leadership in organizations – this is radical change 
  • 12:30 The MBA is only about 100 years old and the technology behind the MBA programs was the shipping industry in the late 19thcentury 
  • 13:08 It’s really scary for leadership to let go and let teams become self-directed 
  • 13:28 Explaining the jump from first to second level management and how this is such a hard jump for most managers 
  • 14:08 There are no models and structures in place to help leaders make the jump to letting go and trusting their teams to do the work – this is new territory and adopting agile makes that transition necessary for first-level managers 
  • 14:20 Advice to managers – find a mentor, someone who can explain their experience of moving from first level to second level management 
  • 14:30 As your teams become self-directed managers need to let go and that is really scary for many managers 
  • 14:40 In a situational leadership model this is a coaching and mentoring style 

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