The Rite Corner: Servant Leadership


The Rite Corner: Servant Leadership

Illustrious David L. Nielsen, 33°S.G.I.G. in Montana

The 2020 Scottish Rite Workshops have been individually presented through Zoom the last two months and this week I took in the presentation entitled "Overcoming Skills Deficits," which discussed ways to increase leadership effectiveness. Through my formal education and career, I have studied leadership and management styles, including those of the famous Peter Drucker. I learned about managers who were strictly production-oriented (the X leader), those who were strictly people-oriented (the Y leader) and those who balanced goals of productivity with high job satisfaction in the workers. (the Z leader.)

During my military service time I learned about the chain of command and that the "leader" was the highest-ranking individual present at the situation. Military leadership started with the Commander-in-Chief and went to the newest enlisted member. In the military there is never a void in knowing who is in charge-it is the ranking service member. This ensures that someone is always in charge even if there are no officers or non-commissioned officers. This complete chain of command means that at any time, anyone could be in charge. That meant leadership skills were necessary for every member of the armed forces and not just the "brass."

The Leadership presentation introduced a leadership style with which I was not familiar. It is called "Servant Leaders." For our Scottish Rite organization this leadership style is not just for the members in elected offices or wearing different colored caps. It is for all members. The philosophical basis is summarized in the quotation from Albert Pike when he said, "What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal." The idea is to be a servant leader. According to the Servant Leadership Centre of Canada, Servant Leaders:

  • See leadership as an opportunity to serve others.
  • Share power & control to drive engagement.
  • Measure success through growth & development.
  • Listens.
  • Understands it's not about them.

This is contrasted to Traditional Leaders, who:

  • Seek leadership as a rank to obtain.
  • Use power & control to drive performance.
  • Measures success through output.
  • Speak.
  • Believe it's about them.

In Masonry, and especially Scottish Rite, we are all learning and honing our leadership skills. As in the military chain of command, we all are called upon to be leaders at different times. Learning leadership skills are invaluable, not only in Masonry, but for our professional life.

The Servant Leader empowers others to provide their best efforts. Those working within a Servant Leader environment may not even notice who the leader is. For Scottish Rite Masonry, we are taught to be servants and care for others. When we apply those basic principles with leadership, we inspire others to give their all and to be leaders who are servants to others.

I found this concept exciting, and in reflecting upon the leadership I have seen in the Valleys, Orients and Supreme Council, recognized that it has been around me, but I did not see it. This presentation, as with the others, was recorded and is being made available to the Valleys.

I have explained just a preview of this training and encourage all members to watch it when it is released. I will be sending a copy of the recording to all the Valley in the Orient of Montana. As Masons we can learn to improve ourselves in Masonry and I believe this training is putting Masonry into action as leaders and inevitably emerging leaders.

I wish you and your loved-ones good health. I look forward to sharing in-person brotherhood.