Project Management

The Base Layer

From the Servant Leadership: Serve to Be Great Blog
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This blog is about leadership as it applies to projects and project management, but also as it applies to society in general. The bloggers here manage projects and lead teams in both business and volunteer environments, and are all graduates of PMI's Leadership Institute Master Class. We hope to bring insight into the challenges we all experience in our projects and in our day-to-day work, providing helpful tidbits to inspire you to take action to improve—whether in your personal life, your business/work life or on your projects. Read, comment and share your experiences as we share ours. Let’s make the pie bigger! Grab a slice!

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Over my lifetime, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about Leadership.  I have learned what works and what doesn't.  I have been introduced to many types of leadership.   I have seen people who think they are great leaders, but are far from it, and I have seen those that are great leaders, but may not realize it yet.  As an aside, the latter of those is always awesome to witness!

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a definitive description of what leadership is and what it takes to be one?  What would the penultimate characteristics be?  Would it be trustworthiness? Humility? Someone who communicates well? Or would it be something else?  As we are all connected to Project Management in one way or another, we are handed the keys to lead.  I believe we wouldn't have wanted the keys if we didn't have someone in our lives that has been able to create that thirst and ability to want to lead.  Not necessarily the tools to immediately be a great leader because that's something that needs work and practice, but that yearning to  be a leader to other people and watch them achieve more than they ever could imagine.

I have looked up to and learned from many people .   In my case, I was very lucky to have a wonderful base layer to work with.  My parents both exuded the crucial characteristics that it takes to lead.  They  instilled in my sister and me an internal drive to be the best we can be in our leadership roles.  

As I continue in in my career and with my family, I can only hope that my wife and I raise our children with the same drive my parents gifted to me.  I have learned the base I was given many years ago is firmly ingrained in my being.  As I graduated with my PMI LIMC Class of 2015 colleagues, I anticipate that the lessons and opportunities I have had over the past year will stay with me through all of the new leadership roles I may have.  I know I have added another successful layer, but will always have that base layer to build on.

What is your base layer?  Is it strong and sturdy to handle adversity? How will you ensure it is? I hope this new blog is a start.

Posted by Graham Briggs on: October 22, 2015 02:39 PM | Permalink

Comments (7)

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A servant leader base - what an interesting concept. Graham got his base from his parents. I think I gained an SL base over time because I experienced enjoyment from seeing people succeed and fell into the habit of sharing what I thought helped them with that.

What is your base? Where did you get it? Did you develop it? Did you make it? Did someone gift it to you? Who and what were your influences?

I gained my SL base from the challenges and barriers in my life. I always find something to learn from anybody, and I had a few instances where I wasn''t able to learn anything (or so I thought).

One in particular changed my life, as I kept wondering why I was having difficulty to learn something from this individual, I had my AHA moment when I realized that I just learned more from this individual than from to others - and that was - what not to do and how not to behave. And that gave a whole new meaning to Leadership.

I also had people reporting to me a few years back, and I felt responsible for their development, growth and for their results. And, mediocrity is not part of my vocabulary and I didn''t accept it from my team either!

Mihaela, your post reminded me of Confucius saying: "If I am walking with two other persons, each of them will serve as my teacher. I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself." I was in similar situation and it took me a long while to figure out (totally forgot to apply Confucius teaching!)

Graham, like you, my parents also built the strong leadership base layer for me. Wish I have my Mom''s vision and charisma! Now, I resolve to apply Confucius teaching, "It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop". Our Servant Leadership journey continues!

I agree. Having a base layer is important! It provides a good foundation for us to build on and also to come back to when we are in challenging times. Great post Graham!

I found this article interesting and appropriate to the topic: although not named Servant Leadership, the "multiplier" seems to be a Servant Leader. What do you think?

Thanks for sharing this Graham! I developed my base layer from the lessons I learnt from the saga of my life. It has always been challenging and full of crossroads. I learnt and harnessed experiences through every decisions that I made in each crossroads. I wouldn't say right or wrong - I say decisions that were appropriate for me as were adjudged by my inner-self.

Way to go Graham. It all starts with a foundation and it definitely sounds like your family helped provide you and your sister with a strong foundation. Way to go and thank you for sharing.

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