Yesterday I had the honor of attending a luncheon hosted by Leadership Harrisburg and hearing Messiah College President, Kim Phipps speak on Servant Leadership. As an alum and also a Trustee of Messiah, I could not be more proud of our school or Dr. Phipps.
Have you ever watched someone play an instrument, or a sport, and it becomes obvious that they are squarely in the center of their calling? Their enthusiasm flows naturally, and their love of their trade is evident. As I listened to Dr. Phipps speak, I had that same feeling. She spoke of her formative days as a young leader, the wise counsel of colleagues, and the journey we all can take as we lead through serving others. Serving Messiah students and seeing them serve their communities clearly has become a focus of Dr. Phipp’s life. It seems like it was an area where focus came easily to her.
Dr. Phipps also discussed a familiar thought that “without challenges, there would be no need for leaders”, and that as leaders we should see difficult times as opportunities to impact others.
Dr. Phipps went on to share the five key attributes that in her opinion all great leaders must possess:
1. High Degree of Competence – very key for leaders to continue to learn.
2. Embody Commitment to Purpose and Vision of Organization – you need to believe in what your organization stands for.
3. Understand and Demonstrate that Communication is both an Art and a Science – important that your communications be transparent and effective.
4. Consistently Demonstrate Compassion Towards Others – need to care for others.
5. Exhibit Courage to Stand Firm When Pressured to Go Against Personal Value and Against the Well Being of Institution – courage to take risks and do the right thing.
Dr. Phipps closed her talk by sharing what she called her personal mission statement which is a wonderful quote from Archbishop Oscar Romero who was martyred in San Salvador in 1980. “This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capability.”