By David Chu
I introduced, with agreement from my teammates, information technology (IT) as an integral part of our methodology with two goals. First, in the global knowledge economy of the 21st Century, organizations are becoming evermore dependent on information technology. My first goal was to explore how leaders in technology services may exercise their individual Achievement Styles to empower, instead of obstruct, their clienteles. Second, I believed that by integrating collaboration technologies into our methodology we would be able to work more effectively. I will leave the effectiveness assessment of the methodology to my teammates and I will describe in this section my experience as a technology server.
Concerning my first goal, I must first note that I have had significant experience as an IT service provider, having directed a global function with an annual line budget of more than $25 M that oversaw distributed operations and separate budgets in 25 countries that served clients in 180+ countries. Therefore, I observed, not without certain irony, the travails experienced by our professor that were created by, unintentionally I am certain, IT leaders who still do not get “it” (pun intended). If there is ever a profession where the leaders can benefit from acting as a servant one would expect that profession to be in services. [I will examine the “servant as leader” concept from a broader perspective and in greater depth as a topic in the main body of this report, see “Connective leadership in global enterprises.”]
While supporting my team’s efforts I noted that I was utilizing mostly the same skills that I had developed during my successful IT career. While previously my skills were exercised to provide effective service for my clients and to develop the careers of myself and my mentees, this was the first time that I had the opportunity to view myself through an analytical lens, specifically that of the Achieving Styles lens. And I must admit that it was very interesting indeed and I found that my skills have migrated over the years from the Direct to include Relational and Instrumental Styles, see figure. While I believe that my strong Intrinsic Style (7.0) must have played a major role in my career to drive my progress in the other styles, I believe that it was not a factor in this project. I relied mainly on my equally strong Vicarious Style (7.0) and Collaborative Style (7.0). These were styles that I had nurtured while I “walked the walk and talked the talk” about collaboration and teamwork. For this project, it was even more critical that I utilize these styles. After all, the success of my team would be my success and this shared destination would be equally true in case of failure as well.
I had intentionally limited my slightly weaker but nevertheless still fairly strong Power Style (5.6). I felt that it would have been counter productive to the overall team effectiveness if I were to aspire to “take charge”. Instead, I practiced my Social Style (6.2) to seek the help of my teammates and to provide help in return. I had to push my Entrusting Style (4.4) to the limit while suppressing my Intrinsic Style impulses to do everything myself. I believe that by leaving many crucial aspects of our project completely to my teammates and by trusting them I was able to conserve some time to do my own work.
I experienced some problems that were due to having focused mostly on the Relational and Instrumental Styles. As an example, I did not leave sufficient time to work on my own contributions and as a result the quality and completeness of my own sections lag those of my teammates. Therefore, I believe that the major challenge facing the servant-leader may be to decide where to draw the line around the various Achievement Styles in order to maximize service to the clients without subjugating one's self-interest completely. After all, even a technology server must earn a decent living!
 Robert K. Greenleaf, "The Servant as Leader," 1970, Paulist Press.
 Jean Lipman-Blumen, "Connective Leadership: Managing in a Changing World," 2000, Oxford University Press.
 ibid. p. 241, "Stage 3 leaders know when and how to harness their own egos to the group's goals"
 ibid. p. 211, "Social achievers think in terms of connections, who can help whom, who is the expert on a certain issue, or is that expert's expert."
 ibid. p. 150, "Leaders overly devoted to self-reliance also may forego needed help even when the task exceeds the capabilities of a single, albeit outstanding, individual."