Intentionally Grow Everyday!
By Dr. Jona Wright
Director for Human Resources, Garlock Sealing Technologies
“I learned about serving others, everyone, regardless of marital status, gender, ethnicity, background, or economic status.”
As a child growing up I would sometimes walk to my grandparents house afterschool, especially if what I heard announced in the morning for evening dinner was not quite appealing. My grandparents did not live far from my grammar school, and around 4:30 p.m. I would hear the phone ring and my grandmother answer, “Yes, she is here. We can bring her back after dinner or why don’t you join us?” My mom was one of seven and my grandfather supported his family with the ownership of auto service stations. It was through stories and stopping by “the station” I became acquainted with servant leadership, yes, at a very early age. I learned about serving others, everyone, regardless of marital status, gender, ethnicity, background, or economic status, especially economic status. I recall stories of my grandfather fixing a
single woman or widow’s car and telling them to pay when they could. I did not understand what this meant until much later in life when I would think about his own need to feed eight mouths at home – servant leadership, putting someone’s else’s needs in front of your own.
My grandfather was my first teacher of my own leadership alignment. As I reflect on the Global Leadership Summit (2018), Criag Groeschel opened with a statement, “a humble leader can learn from anyone.” I have continued my commitment to be a “leader as lead learner,” and have sought different ways to continue my development as a servant leader. Kouzes and Posner’s (2017) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership are foundations I use every day: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. While I am inspired by others everyday and the wisdom I gain by serving, I find energy keeping these practices in mind. The five practices help me align my work with others, and keep me positive on a daily basis. As servant leaders, sometimes we need to find ways to knock down obstacles and remove barriers for others for each one to be able to attain his or her goals.
When I learned about the Global Leadership Summit and the fantastic line up of speakers, I was very excited to hear that Dr. Ken Blanchard was going to be a key note live for a lunch program! I was given the opportunity to join the Rochester-located simulcast for this world-class learning event, and firsthand enjoyed listening to Dr. Blanchard, a leader in the more formal teachings of servant leadership. Dr. Blanchard continued to model the way and challenge our thinking, sharing his thinking on the continued development of servant leadership. He called all leaders to action in a world that needs more leaders serving! John Maxwell shared his passion for learning and it is a lesson I like to carry with me everyday, “intentionally grow everyday.” As leaders we need to be more intentional, in our own learning, growing others and serving to build stronger organizations and better communities. Together, we need to model the way!
Dr. Jona Wright is the onsite Director for Human Resources at Garlock Sealing Technologies in Palmyra, NY. She is a lifelong Rochestarian and enjoys all the Rochester and Finger Lakes area has to offer to support a community of learners, professionally and personally. She recently completed her own learning journey, obtaining her doctorate in Executive Leadership from St. John Fisher College in August 2017. Her research centered around creative problem solving and innovation and impacts for individuals and teams. She invites you to consider one simple practice, changing “can’t” and “don’t” to “how might I?” and “in what ways might we…?”. Questions open opportunity!