I have had the opportunity to intern at Datron under Tony Baron in the Servant Leadership Institute. Through this experience, I have been able to see firsthand how Datron is working to complete their transformation into a Servant Leader organization.
I am currently a Chapman University student majoring in Philosophy with minors in Communication and Economics. So, this internship is the perfect opportunity for me to enhance my philosophical studies while also orienting myself in the business world. I have held a few previous internships and jobs, but I can say with truth that this has been the most influential job thus far.
My knowledge of Datron and Servant Leadership was very limited a month ago. However, my studies in Ethics have expedited my learning curve, as I have found most of the elements of Servant Leadership draw from the best minds in history. The strongest link I have found so far is to the Greek virtues. Areté is the Greek word for virtue or excellence. Plato first devised this method of focusing on the development of a person’s character in order to determine morality. He set forth a set of virtues that consisted of temperance, justice, wisdom, and courage.
The Greek Virtues aside, I have noticed there to be a few characteristics of Servant Leaders that truly make unique, positive contributors to any organization. They display integrity, humility, and wisdom while achieving superior results. These are elements I have found to be common in all leaders no matter where they are in the company’s org chart.
A defining factor in the development of a Servant Leader is the foundation of integrity. A leader will not be in his position for very long if he is not consistent in his actions and thought. This inability to develop a strong set of values and beliefs will foster an environment of mistrust where the employees cannot trust the leadership. A Servant Leader will set forth his values and stick to them, even through adversity. This will produce an environment where honesty is valued and trust is then a result of the culture.
A genuine Servant Leader is one who is able to abnegate his pride and focus on accomplishing the common goals of the organization with humility. He or she cannot get caught up in the placement of titles in an organization, but rather must focus on each person’s individual duty. If we can shift from individuals operating only for themselves to a culture where individuals enable co-workers for the benefit of Datron as a whole, it is from there that the organization can achieve its maximum efficiency.
A Servant Leader’s insatiable desire for wisdom is what gives them the advantage of the typical leader. Wisdom contains two parts which allow it to be a function in daily life. The first part is the knowledge of knowing distinctly what is true or right, paired with fair judgment. When you utilize this knowledge with the ability to put it into proper action, it is then that you have achieved wisdom.
The last function of a Servant Leader that I have observed is their ability to generate superior results under any circumstance. A Servant Leader at Datron is in a business, and to run a business successfully you must be profitable. However, the Servant Leader understands that the bureaucratic power model will only produce short term gains that will fester into a toxic environment where collapse is likely.
During my time at Datron, I have been able to shadow key members of the community. This opportunity has allowed me to gain invaluable experience that I will be able to transfer to all aspects of my life. I am currently at the half-way point in my internship and am eager to see what the second half has to offer.