Tag Archives: ServantLeadership

Creating Servant Leaders One Oreo Cookie At A Time


Good leaders must first become good servants.  Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant Leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches lives of individuals, builds better organizations and creates a more just and caring world.  Servant Leaders lead with others in mind.   Robert Greenleaf  is regarded as the founder of the concept of Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership is not only a process, it is a way of life.  

The Way To SuccessAllison Elkow Lazicky from Top Notch Teams is serving up Servant Leadership in more ways than one.  Using the metaphor of an Oreo Cookie, Allison  sets the stage by saying that before one can dig into the delicious center cream, we set expectations with the top half of the cookie and learn how to develop an attitude of gratitude with the bottom half of the cookie.  I love the metaphor of the Oreo Cookie and Servant Leadership.

I think there is a strong connection between servant leadership and being a caregiver.  As caregivers we often put ourselves second and focus on the needs of someone else. Becoming a servant leader is a process; becoming a caregiver is a process too.  When we (caregivers) develop a care team, we have to empower members to the best of their abilities.  While we might want to jump right into the center of the Oreo cookie, we have to set our expectations and adapt that attitude of gratitude.

I find the concept of Servant Leaders and Caregivers fascinating.  I think you will find the conversation with Allison Elkow Lazicky fascinating too.  Here’s to creating great teams and Oreo Cookies! Listen in and learn how Allison is creating healthy teams and Healing Ties all around us!

 Visit Allison’s website, Top-Notch Teams by clicking here! 

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Caregivers As Servant Leaders


A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my master’s degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection caregivers have to Servant Leadership.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve; to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual tiles-1424714_1920power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While  Servant Leadership focus is on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I see a connection to Caregivers as Servant Leaders  because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place culture driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feels a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion. Organizations who propose a culture of Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, empower their employees to be connected and contributing.  Stephen Covey was the “Greeenleaf” of leadership training for the military back in the 90’s,  In Greenleaf (2002), Stephen Covey stated that, “The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people—each one of us—to rise above our present circumstances and to transcend our common nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation.”

I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined between Servant Leadership and being a family caregiver. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their caree, while understanding that their caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Because of the innate ability of the caregiver to think beyond self, caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand.

Organizations who commit to the philosophy of Servant Leadership will certainly understand the special needs of working family caregivers. These same organizations will be leaders in helping the working family caregiver reduce conflicts when an emergency arise and they have to choose between going to work, or staying home to care for their caree. Employers who understand their bottom-line and return on investment is vested in how they treat their most important customer, their employee, lead by example and reap all the  benefits of having a work-place culture that promotes open dialogue and passion with employees.

You can’t put a price tag on employee morale, or can you?

We are all Servant Leaders in training, and our training in Servant Leadership is ongoing, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I am still in training, learning how to care for myself while being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Life After Caregiving is about relationships, too.  I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh…what did being a family caregiver mean to me? It meant the world! Because in the end, just as in the beginning of our caregiving journey, we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations with each other, while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.

 

 

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Cancer, Caregiving and Advocacy


There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen. Christopher Morley

Just this week I was asked to participate in a splendid article written by Bill Briggs of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle about family caregivers “Finding their calling: Why  cancer caregivers join cause”.    Bill’s questions to me were thought provoking and struck me at my inner core and caused me to ask myself, “Why am I an advocate?”

After pondering Bill’s questions about caregivers finding their calling, I am reminded about a book my good friends  Joni Aldrich and Christopher Jerry wrote entitled Advocacy Heals UYes advocacy does heal us!

I do believe family caregivers find a calling through caregiving. Family caregivers have an innate ability to understand each other; to validate another caregiver’s feelings, just when the time is right.  That is why I believe it so important for every family caregiver, (as they feel comfortable)  to share their story, because when you have been in the caregiving trenches, you understand the agony… and the joy that caregiving brings to a relationshipSharing your caregiving experience is not only therapeutic, it helps current and future family caregivers cope and understand.  That’s why so many people find their calling after caregiving ends.  Through story telling, we impact the lives of others, while allowing advocacy to play a key role in our own healing when our loved one life transitions and caregiving ends.  (Thank You Joni and Chris!)

Family caregivers are changing the landscape in America.  Take for instance the working family caregiver who advocates for paid time off of work to care for their elderly parent or a disabled spouse.  This reminds me of the child care crisis in the 70’s when employers recognized that they were losing good employees because there was no legal protection in place for employees to take time off of work to care for a new born or sick child. By 1993 FLMA was enacted sick-leavewhile employers made adjustments in personnel policies to accommodate working parents.   Now changes in FLMA are being proposed through local, state and nation wide legislation to impact the lives of family caregivers.  This is happening not only because caregivers are sharing their stories, this is happening because family caregiving is taking place in every neighborhood, and in every boardroom. While in the midst of caregiving, we as family Caregivers do not recognize that we are the backbone of the American Health Care System.   Yet when caregiving ends, and we have time to reflect on our time spent as a caregiver, we come to recognize the important role we played as an advocate.   That is why we as caregivers, continue on with our mission; to share, to educate, and to heal.

Chris MacLellan became a full-time caregiver to his partner, Richard Schiffer, after he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer two years ago.

Even though Richard was 20+ years older than me, caregiving was the farthest thing on our mind when we started to develop our beautiful relationship.  Caregiving is not on anyone’s bucket list, Caregiving just happens.  The family caregiver is the unsung hero, and each an every one of us is an expectant caregiver.  I often relate caregivers to that of being a Servant Leader, putting the needs of someone else, first.  When Richard was diagnosed with esophageal  cancer, we  came up with a motto that got us through the day.  “We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Never Has Us.”  Now, more than two years past his life transition, our motto is still the same, we just use it differently to positively impact the lives of other family caregivers.  Because that is what family caregivers do!

 Join us in Chicago for the 1st Annual National Caregiving Conference on December 2 & 3.  Register now by clicking here! 

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving?” and host of “Healing Ties” Radio. ©WholeCareNetwork

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What’s On Your Bucket List: Caregiving?


We do not remember days, we remember moments.  Cesare Pavese

One of the great aspects of being on the road to Spokane is the anticipation of where the journey will lead me.  Sure, the end of the journey is graduation, but what about the road leading up to graduation? And more importantly, what will happen after graduation?   So many sites to see along the way,  so many people along the route to visit, so many more things to do on my bucket list.

Richard and I were fortunate that we were able to accomplish quite a number of things on our bucket list prior to his cancer diagnosis. Transatlantic cruises  were always tops on our list, and we had quite a bit of domestic trips, too. Lunch in a small mountain side cafe outside of  Arels, France;  hill top view overlooking the green and blue lake, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean at Ponta Delgarda Azores; relaxing after a walk in Cadiz, Spain.

One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was in the planning!  We would sit down together and look at maps and plan the itinerary as best we could.  While we had a plan in place, we always left room to explore so that we can check off items on our bucket list.  It was fun for us to check items off our bucket list.  As I continue to plan my road to Spokane, it has come to my attention that my bucket is a little dusty.

dust-monitoringOh, there are many things I still want to do that were on our bucket list: visit the Grand Canyon, drive to Mount Rushmore, fly to Hawaii, more transatlantic cruises and a train ride through the Canadian Rockies.  Now it is time to dust off the bucket list!

One thing that was not on our bucket list of things to do was Caregiving.  I doubt Caregiving is on your bucket list, too!

It seems kind of strange to think about Caregiving as something that should be  on your bucket list because in essence,  no one really wants to be a caregiver. Caregiving just happens! It could be an untimely diagnosis or an unfortunate accident. Who plans on being a caregiver? While all of our caregiving experiences are different, there is a part of caregiving that I think we all experience, the beginning and the ending, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life-changing events. We live in the moment of our caregiving journey while desperately praying for a miracle, hoping the next day will be better than the day before, then all of a sudden, it’s over.

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As I look back on our caregiving journey, I know now the good days far outweighed the bad ones. We might not think that way when we are in the midst of the caregiving trenches, but I have come to know that this is true. As caregivers, we sometimes get caught in the mindset that we can do this alone, or that we do not need any additional help. Along the way I learned reaching out for help was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Reaching out for help and being mindful of your own personal health and well-being is job #1 for all caregivers. Yet, easier said than done!

Asterisk_blackSo I think adding a little asterk at the end of your bucket list to include Caregiving is a great thing to do.  The asterk can be a subtle reminder to have all your legal documents in order, or to be mindful of the unexpected, but   most importantly-the asterk will remind you not to procrastinate and accomplish as many items on your bucket list as possible,  because before you know it,  the asterk arrives at the top of your list and your bucket list then starts to gather dust.

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?” and the host of “Healing Ties” Radio.  The Road To Spokane is part of a Masters Thesis project leading up to graduation from Gonzaga University in Leadership and Communication.

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January 28, 2016 · 6:06 pm

Caregivers and Servant Leadership


A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

In November we celebrate National Caregiving month and it is always a good time to reflect and reconnect with good friends along the road during our Caregiving journey.  As I read through many of the national organization who are running promotions this month to signify National Caregiving month, I started to think about my role as a family Caregiver and what being a family Caregiver meant to me. Being a family Caregiver taught me a number of valuable lessons, but the most important lesson I learned was after Caregiving ended and Richard was no longer with us, and that lesson is the importance of self-care.   It is common for family Caregivers to lose themselves in the midst of Caregiving because our focus is so intense on our Caree.  Now 18 months after Richard made his life transition,  I am learning how to take better care of myself, (It is an up hill battle, that I will eventually win!)

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my masters degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection Caregivers have to Servant Leadership.  With my ministerial background and theology training, I had been looking forward to my class in Servant Leadership.  I was not disappointed.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While our class in Servant Leadership often focused on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I often commented in our classroom discussions about how Caregivers are Servant Leaders, because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feel a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion.  Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, while understanding wpid-wp-1419526540344.jpegthat people have to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing.  I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined with Servant Leadership and Caregiving. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, and do find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their Caree, while understanding that their Caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand because of the innate ability to think beyond our self.

In essence, we are all Servant Leaders in training and our training in Servant Leadership is on going, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I still in training, learning how to care for myself, while in the midst of being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Caregiving and Life After Caregiving is about Relationships, too!

I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh…what did being a family Caregiver mean to me? It meant the world! Because in the end, just as in the beginning, we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations with each other, while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.  I would do it again with him, all over, with no regrets!

Chris MacLellan is the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” and Host of “Healing Ties: Creating A Life to Love After Caregiving Ends.”

To purchase the book, simply click here! 

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