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June 19, 2006
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 The H.R. Doctor Is In

Hail to the Chief

HR Doctor Daughter Rachel is a second-year resident physician in family practice in Farmington Hills, Mich. She recently sent me her resume, asking me to review it and offer any suggestions. She noted at the end of her request that all of the information on the resume was accurate.

This was her way of announcing that she has been appointed as the chief hospital resident. She is now Chief Daughter Doctor Rachel. This was not at all an arrogant, trumpet-blaring method of announcing a wonderful event. Rather, it was almost business as usual.

When I asked her if the duties of chief resident meant some form of supervision of the 150-member medical resident population, she said that rather she will be the voice of the residents to the board of directors of the hospital and to other physicians. Her job will be to create and monitor the support needed for their maximum medical skills development. As their servant-leader, she will be their advocate and their source of support and help.

The concept of a servant-leader is critical to our happiness and our development as professionals. There are several characteristics that I hope readers of the HR Doctor articles carefully consider and take to heart. The first is the idea that to gain respect and power, the thing to do is give away information and give away opportunities to others instead of keeping them to yourself and hoarding them.

In a recent "diagnostic" visit to a fire department with a troubled management group, the HR Doctor noted comments from an effective staff member. She was very frustrated by the fact that her work was apparently unrecognized - and probably disrespected, by the demeanor of her boss - and, in fact, the boss would take her work, white-out her name and put his name on it. She felt frustrated, disappointed and disaffected. This was not the result of organizational trouble but of an individual style creating trouble where it need not exist.

The servant-leader, on the other hand, would not only recognize and praise her achievements, but would be ready to challenge her to go further in her professional career, try new assignments and accept new responsibilities that broaden her ability to contribute. The servant-leader would never use whiteout!

Secondly, a servant-leader has a primary mission of controlling uncertainty for other people and for the organization for itself.

The control of uncertainty, as the HR Doctor has noted in past articles, is the FUNDAMENTAL executive skill for success. It transcends even effective presentations and communication, although the latter is also a very necessary and powerful tool in the executive’s success inventory.

Controlling uncertainty means clearly setting forth a vision that inspires and challenges. It means enlisting others to join your army of colleagues with the same vision and the same sense of direction. It means keeping people informed and ensuring that you are open to being informed by them about facts on the ground even if you don’t like what you hear.

The servant-leader is an appreciator. This is a person who finds the best in people, and is a coach and mentor to others - especially to young people beginning their careers or thinking about what their futures could be like.

Recognition, appreciation and a clear vision all come to together in a servant-leader. It produces an infectious mix that helps great employees want to stay with an organization to grow, and new employees want to come and work there when an opportunity presents itself.

Finally, the servant-leader understands the great waste and tragedy of leadership through arrogance. This person is on a mission of continual self-examination and improvement. The servant-leader doesn’t have to be a physician to write prescriptions to avoid arrogance and to follow them regularly. These are the key characteristics for success at work and for a happy and passionate life.

So, whether you are young Doctor Rachel or a senior citizen volunteer helping in the community, however hard it may be for you to move around or get around in a society built around the car, it is possible to be a servant-leader. Indeed, it is essential.

We squander a lot of opportunities in our individual lives, in our local communities and in our country. Don’t squander the opportunity to be successful personally, to be optimistic in your outlook, and to focus on personal success through the success that comes from making a difference in the lives of others.

So, dear Rachel, "Hail to the Chief," but a bigger hail to someone growing and developing to be the Chief of Positive Attitude and the Chief of Making a Positive Impact on the World.


Phil Rosenberg
The HR Daddy


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