Leadership as service

For many contemporary commentators, these ideas lead to the conclusion that leadership is understood as a form of service to others and shared values. A new moral principle is emerging which holds that the only right worthy of one's loyalty is that which is freely and knowingly given by leadership in response to, and to that extent manifestly servile status. Deep listening, leading through persuasion and empathy, and envisioning new ethical possibilities are some of the elements of servant leadership.

Implications for contemporary concepts of leadership

Describing some of the defining elements of relational leadership offers several directions for understanding and practicing leadership. To define operationalization for our purposes suggests that leadership is an interactive relationship of knowledge creation and meaning making in which particular individuals and groups influence and motivate others to adopt and implement shared values and goals and to pursue shared goals in response.

If leadership leads us to the basic conditions of human self-enactment in groups, it also reveals essential human possibilities and needs. Leadership is ultimately about the human condition. A person does not live without values and commitments that make it worthwhile for human enterprise to expose itself to limitations and threats. Ultimately the protection and promotion of their values is what humans seek in the leadership of their organizations and institutions.

Implications for higher education

The framework we have created gives us the insights, concepts and vocabulary to evaluate and critique different theories of leadership in higher education and to draw useful perspectives from them. Above all, the phenomenon of relational leadership will serve as a central point in efforts to describe the process of strategic leadership. We can already see the criteria to fulfill it in a broad sense.

> Sense making and sense giving

> Collaboration and Empowerment

> Direction setting and run values

> Change orientation and conflict resolution

> Persuasive and influential

The educational decision-making process relies on educational values and professional norms that have powerful moral force. Yet leadership in colleges and universities is typically problematic and uncertain of itself in theory and practice. Structural conflict is part of the decision-making system, which often frustrates leadership tasks. Thus, these basic ideas about leadership are tested as we study the possibilities of strategic leadership.