Volume 2, Issue 1/2011     
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The Three Sisters Garden Analogy for Servant Leadership Based Collaboration
Dr. Thorsten Grahn

According to Morgan (2006), "Metaphor is central to the way we 'read,' understand, and shape organizational life," and "most modern organization theorists have looked to nature to understand organizations and organizational life" (p. 65). In the garden metaphor for an organization (Grahn, 2008), the leader's role is that of a gardener who takes care of the garden and nurtures the growth of the plants such that lasting fruit is produced. The gardener's focus on the healthy growth of each individual plant in the garden resembles the servant leader's focus on the healthy growth of each individual person in the organization. According to Greenleaf (1980), the growth of the people in the organization is the best test for practiced servant leadership. The question he raises is "Do those being served grow as persons: do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?" (p. 43). The Three Sisters Garden (Formiga, 2010) is an ancient method of gardening using an intercropping system, which grows corn, beans, and squash crops simultaneously in the same growing area. Taking the Three Sisters Garden as an analogy for a three-partner collaboration provides a new perspective on the determinants of highly effective collaboration. The analogy suggests that Greenleaf's question also applies to situations in which a servant leader facilitates collaboration between organizations. Greenleaf's question then becomes, "Do those partners being served grow as individuals/organizations?"

The Building of a Virtuous Transformational Leader
J. Brock Brown

This paper links the presence of strong demonstrated virtues with what research has determined to be successful transformational leaders. The paper begins by defining transformational leadership, then links the definition to what Collins (2001) termed "level 5 leaders" and what Johnson (2009) described as "proponents of virtue ethics." Presenting Johnson's "three important features of virtues," the author draws from Taylor's (1995) description of "the Greeks' four chief cardinal virtues" and Johnson's seven "important virtues" to observe commonalities, then creates a parallel link to the four key leadership characteristics identified in Kouzes and Posner's (2007) research. The results show that great transformational leaders, defined by what they do and their levels of followership, are, in fact, virtuous leaders. Identifying the common virtues, the author then argues that it is possible to help or teach people to become virtuous leaders.

The Beatitudes as Leadership Virtues
Bruce E. Winston & Paula A. Tucker

This conceptual article proposes that each of the seven beatitudes found in Matthew 5 is a virtue located between two vices as a mean, which aligns with Aristotle's definition of a virtue. The authors provide the anchors for what might become a semantic-differential scale for the seven beatitudes. Poor in spirit is placed between the vices of lowly and haughty; concern for others is placed between disregarding and controlling; controlled discipline is placed between Laissez-faire and overbearing; seeking what is right is placed between complacent and wayward; merciful is placed between lenient and ruthless; pure in heart is placed between ambiguous and unyielding; and peacemaker is placed between pacifist and warmonger.

Animated to Serve: A Review of The Spirit of Servant-Leadership, edited by S. R. Ferch and L. C. Spears
Corné J. Bekker

Robert Greenleaf's (1977/2002) iconic statement in his seminal essay, The Leader as Servant, identified the servant leader as one who makes a determined choice to serve: "The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead" (p. 27). This provocative statement begs the question of what motivates leaders to make this often counter-cultural decision to lead as servants.


From the Editor
Kathleen Patterson

Welcome to Volume 2, Issue 1 of The Journal of Virtues & Leadership (JVL). This issue is particularly dear to me for many reasons; first, the great patience it has taken to finally get it published and the great care that many have taken to ensure this happens (I say thank you!). Second, the content is, by far, of great fascination. I trust you will join me in agreeing on this. And third, I like the global feel we have with authors from the United States, Canada, South Africa and Germany.

In this issue, Corné Bekker has provided a book review of the new edited book, "The Spirit of Servant-Leadership," by Shann Ferch and Larry Spears. The book is a great addition to the literature of both spirituality and leadership, and Bekker offers insights that I trust will compel you to read the book on your own and find the many nuggets of truth that are offered there.

We are also uplifted by the work of Thorsten Grahn, with his insightful article, which looks at the ancient method of the Three Sisters Garden and the deep connection to servant leadership. This provides a new and fresh perspective to the question posed by Robert K. Greenleaf on "Do those partners being served grow as individuals/ organizations?" I am indebted to Grahn for his kindness and the patience he has shown me over these years. Read more.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.            

Galatians 5:22-23

The Journal of Virtues & Leadership
An online refereed journal sponsored by
Regent University School of Business & Leadership
1333 Regent University Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464
Phone: 757-352-4550; Email: jvl@regent.edu | ISSN 1941-465X | © 2011