We are approaching the century mark of the writings and influence of the woman many believe to be the mother of management theory. Her influence spanned decades.
Mary Parker Follett was denied graduate education at Harvard University because she was a woman. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1898. For the next three decades from the platform of a social worker she developed many management principles that still ring true today. President Teddy Roosevelt retained Follett as his personal management consultant for voluntary organizations.
I've studied most of her writings, passed exams on her work and still quote many things I learned from her about leadership. I should quickly add that there are many thought leaders who discount much of her work as naive and primer material. In my observation of leadership today, perhaps most notably in nonprofits, I think we all could stand a dose of Follett naiveté.
Today, I will share one basic principle I first learned from Follett's work. Each day this week, I will add at least one thought of hers that I think is relevant for today's leaders.
I think her most primary leadership theory is that genuine power should not be seen as "coercive." She taught "co-active." When we recall that Follett wrote during the dawn of the scientific management era—Frederick Taylor, et al.—we should be amazed that Follett could have proffered such an idea as "group power" versus "personal power." Taylor's bunch was all about threatening the security of the worker for better performance.
Mary Parker Follett taught "power with" versus "power over."
Do we need any other message? If we think about "with" versus "over" I suggest our outcomes will be highly improved.
If you consider the leader who had the greatest influence on you, I think you will agree, your model leader was "with you."
"Power with" thinking is a thought over 100 years old in management theory. But we only need to observe the life of Jesus to see theory in action.
"As Jesus was at supper in his house, many tax collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His disciples. For there were many, and they followed Him" (Mark 2:15).
Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the media group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His book, Love Leads: The Spiritual Connection Between Your Relationships and Productivity, is now available.
Leaders, Dr. Greene wants to help you understand the spiritual connection between relationships and productivity. Read his new blog, Love Leads.
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.