Project Management

Lead with Compassion and through Trust and Ownership

From the Servant Leadership: Serve to Be Great Blog
by , , , , , , ,
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!

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Cameron McGaughy
Catalin Dogaru
Mike Frenette
Tolga Özel
Suzan Cho
Jonathan Lee
Graham Briggs
Cecilia Boggi

Recent Posts

Strategy Formulation is not Strategy Delivery

Project Management is All Around Us!

The Servant Leadership Way: Virtues that bring Results

Acting a leader?

The Elusive PMO

In a complex and ever changing environment, would you trust someone who's answer is a definite "I know" or someone who said "I don't know" with a degree of certainty? Be a thinker. Ask "Why?"!

In an ideal world when everything is known, traditional Project Management (waterfall in the field of software development) and Command & Control authoritative style organizations may work (in the low trust and low ownership environment) for a while. Now, let's qualify that: everything is relative and it truly depends deeply on the experiences of the team, the objectives and the results one wishes to obtain.

Above the mundane, I advocate building The Agile Culture, Leading through Trust and Ownership (a book I highly recommended), practice principle based learning and distributed leadership (as in servant leadershiplead without a title and with self-organizing teams of professionals). The choice to serve and to lead is not something we do; it is an expression of our being.

I will share with you the valuable Trust-Ownership Model from The Agile Culture book mentioned above by Pollyanna Pixton, Paul Gibson and Niel Kickolaisen. Amazing things happen when you lead as an enabler, not manage as a controller.

Allow me to end with a quote from Lao-Tzu.

“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

Let's see the world as a mirror reflection of ourselves and start with self-compassion, value diverse opinions, and as Skip Prichard had it: "Leading with Others In Mind".

May our world be full of magical moments when all involved treasure the experiences and become better servant leaders because of us!


Posted by Suzan Cho on: July 27, 2016 06:27 AM | Permalink

Comments (10)

Please login or join to subscribe to this item
Thanks for the reflections and references, Suzan!

Simplicity, patience and compassion - words to live by.


"Compassionate toward yourself" is good but what about being compassionate towards others?

Mike, you are the best as always!

Hi Denise, thanks for your comments! We have often stressed being compassionate towards others and I cannot agree with you more. Now, let's take a look from a slightly difference perspective and scenario, and taking an analogy from during emergency flight situation, one needs to put the oxygen mask on oneself first before having the ability to help others to ensure the strong positive outcome for all. It's like if we do not make deposits regularly, when it comes time to make withdraws from the bank account, how do we ensure that are available funds? I hope you agree that energy, love and compassion work the same way. Perhaps, I have not explained myself well before.

Thank you for the reflection provided here. In my case I like the idea of using the KISS method whenever possible. If you wonder what caught my attention was "lead as an enabler, not manage as a controller".

Edgar Garcia

A compassionate person who learns to show true compassion to themselves will reflect higher levels of compassion onto others.

Very true and realistic!

Great info, thanks for sharing.


Great Information, worth Sharing

Thank you for sharing. I always tell people to be kind to themselves, as I think that is sometimes harder to remember than to be kind to others.

Dear Suzan
Interesting is your perspective on the topic: "Lead with Compassion and through Trust and Ownership"

Thanks for sharing

Please Login/Register to leave a comment.


Can't this wait till I'm old? Can't I live while I'm young?

- Phish