I first met Pat Falotico, CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, in the spring of 2015 through an introduction by a mutual friend. From our first conversation, I was impressed with this accomplished senior executive and her passion for promoting the concept of servant leadership around the world through the writings of Robert K. Greenleaf and the global non-profit that bears his name.
I recently caught up with Pat to ask her a few questions about her background and the important work of the Greenleaf Center.
“I knew that I wanted to focus my energies in ways to that would help others. Following 31 years in the corporate world, I knew I wanted to participate in the nonprofit sector. I had had a good deal of exposure to non-profits during my tenure at IBM and felt that I was being called to a mission-centric/purpose driven environment. I thought that would come in the opportunity to serve through an organization focused on kids and public education. After a couple of attempts, a wonderful advisor asked me what I loved doing most and was particularly good at. My answer: developing leaders; quite specifically first line managers/supervisors. He encouraged me to think about how I could focus my professional efforts there while continuing to give my time to societal questions I care about.
That set off a two-month effort of talking to a number of trusted friends and fine-tuning my plan. Midway through that period, a friend told me about the opening at the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership® and I applied. The rest is history.”
Does “servant leadership” resonate with today’s leaders and emerging leaders in business?
“It does to many, especially those who buy into the belief that when you enable your people to grow, your business grows. There are still others that believe that an intense care and compassion is the right way to be. However, far too many leaders think that the coercive power model is the way to go in business. Perhaps that is why Gallup reports that 70% of American workers are not engaged. We need to do something about that statistic.”
Do you think there is a false assumption that servant leadership is something you practice after retirement? How can anyone, from students to senior executives, embrace servant leadership as an essential vehicle for leading in today’s world?
“I would say that if anyone holds that thought it is TOO late. We have to have servant-leaders step up at every level within society. We need students who will stand up for others at school who are being bullied, we need senior tenured faculty members to mentor assistant professors, we need team leaders sharing their expertise with their peers, we need managers to guide and teach new employees so that they can contribute and give back, we need senior executives to walk in the footsteps of the culture map they have drawn. This is about building a more caring and just society…it takes everyone!”
What are some of the initiatives the Greenleaf Center is working on these days?
“The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership® is focused on promoting the awareness and practice of servant leadership. In addition to a bookstore (https://www.greenleaf.org /products-page/) filled with original texts written by our founder and other author’s offerings, we provide workshops, keynotes and three certificate programs offered through our Greenleaf Academy (https://www.greenleaf.org/greenleaf-academy/).
The Greenleaf Center will also be launching a consultant certification this summer and we are planning a conference for late 2017.”
How can individuals and organization engage with the Greenleaf Center to support your mission and tap into the game-changing thought leadership of Robert Greenleaf’s extensive work on servant leadership?
“Please go to our website (Greenleaf.org) and sign up to receive our email newsletter and learn the numerous ways individuals, non-profits and companies can tap into the life-changing work of Robert K. Greenleaf and support our efforts to educate the world on the importance of adapting the servant leadership model.”
To learn more about the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, please visit www.Greenleaf.org.