WANTED: An Un-Corruptible (Servant) Leader


I live and work in Southern California where as of late the newspapers have been full of stories for months about corruptible city leaders that have misappropriated money, taken bribes, stolen whatever wasn’t nailed down and an assortment of other activities that were not part of their job description.

In a world more closely integrated we have different ethnic groups as well as both male and female “leaders” that are exchanging their previous titles of “Mayor” and “Councilmember” for “DEFENDANT!”

I guess the good news is we are uncovering all of the corruption and prosecuting these fine citizens, but why is this even necessary?

High Unemployment Should Mean Something!

I sometimes think I live under a rock, but with unemployment so high nearly everywhere, I can’t help but think this should be the time for employees to behave better than ever, if for no other reason than to keep their jobs.  I mean, being fired for embezzlement is not a sure-fire way to get unemployment compensation or move to the top of the list for your next job opportunity.

Servant Leadership is about Serving!

Those of us that practice Servant Leadership know first hand that the key to our success is to put the needs of our employees, teams, managers and clients ahead of our own needs.  The concept of public service and/or public servant should be even more aligned with the basic principles of Servant Leadership.

However, for many of the folks in my part of the country, it would appear that they are reading the flip side of the Servant Leadership book, which as we know is the Self-Serving Leader.  For those of us that train Servant Leadership we now have so many examples of the self-serving leader that we can paint wall murals instead of the occasional example.  But that is simply the silver lining part of a very bad trend in government leaders today.

Corruptible Leaders are Everywhere, Unfortunately!

Although it is the headlines about city government that prompts this discussion, unfortunately self-serving leaders seem to be sprouting up in all industries.  Yet whether it is government or Corporate America, the trend cannot continue.

I blame the lack of quality leadership development that begins at the beginning stages of communication skills and continues through an individual’s career with inadequate development programs or none at all.  Companies are actually growing corruptible leaders because they are failing to develop un-corruptible leaders.

No Money for Training Leadership Development!

The number one excuse for not training leadership development is a lack of budget.  My guess is the money is being saved for attorney fees, liability insurance and to cover losses from corruptible employees.  I can only imagine that annually company managers are assessing if they are budgeting enough for these categories, while at the same time they are cutting back on the preventative maintenance of a quality development program.

Why has leadership development become an option?  Why has the corporate leader allowed the succession advancement of employees to continue without the appropriate skill development? 

WANTED: An Un-Corruptible (Servant) Leader

I read an interesting job posting a couple of weeks ago that was looking for “a Real Training Manager.”  The word “real” caught my attention that this company needed a skilled professional this time.  And, having known who they were replacing I saw the connection.

So what would be the harm in posting and describing what you are looking for in your next corporate leader?  Why not just spell it out with words like Un-corruptible, Ethical, Honorable, Trustworthy etc.?

This blog was originally published on May 13, 2011 on Linked2Leadership

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