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Autry: Our organizational lives exist in relationships

How people behave and what they do in organizations depends on the leadership.

A servant leader
• Is caring
• Builds community
• Lets go of his or her ego
• Creates a place where people can share
• Pays attention
• Loves him or herself and others

The work bond is second only to the family bond
People need to find meaning in their work. Executives today are often obsessed with short-term results and efficiency which can be the opposite of effectiveness.

People find meaning in work by being valued
To be valued, people have to understand how to contribute and where they fit; that happens by understanding the organization’s
Vision—why are we here?
Mission—what do we do?
Values—how do we behave together?

Workers need workplace support, not fear
Honesty—to be told what we aren’t doing well, what we do well. “People keep secrets to assure power.” Live your values rather than trying to be a different person in different places. It’s not honest to have one personality at home and a different one at work.
Trust—you should be able to trust everyone in the workplace. If you don’t trust someone and you’re in managerial role, why does that person work for you?
Talk directly to people to establish honesty and trust. Deal with people one at a time. Be compassionate. And finally, reflect and meditate.


These are my notes from James A. Autry’s speech June 8 at the ACE/NETC conference in Des Moines. Autry is an author, poet, consultant and retired president of the magazine group of the Meredith Corporation. ACE and NETC are two professional organizations of primarily communications and information technology workers in land-grant universities.

June 11, An expert in servant leadership lives in Des Moines

Autry's Web site with links to his YouTube channel
Click on the books for an overview of each. I encourage you to find at least one Autry book and read it. If you live in central Iowa, his books often show up at used book sales in public libraries and other organizations. I buy extras and give them away.

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We recorded Autry's keynote at the ACE/NETC 2009 conference. You can find the recording here: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/acenetc2009/sessions/broadcast.htm

Thanks for your posts on Jim Autry's servant leadership books and speeches. They give us all an ideal to reach for. While it is often easy to see when our leaders fall short the mark, it is not so easy to see the flaws in ourselves. These two posts help me evaluate my own motives and concerns and take more courage in helping others to reach their full potential.