The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (the Center), an independent, 501c3 organization affiliated with Seton Hall University, recently executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Kenya to support the introduction of Servant Leadership to a class of top government officials operating throughout ministries of the Government of Kenya (GOK). Known as Principal Secretaries and Accounting Officers, participants will experience a four-week workshop series addressing the fundamentals and practice of Servant Leadership, a philosophy in which the leader first seeks to serve. Principal Secretaries serve in critical roles across the GOK, providing oversight of governmental operations that ultimately impact the lives of millions of Kenyan citizens. The Center’s involvement in this work is due to the invitation of the office of the nation’s newly elected President, His Excellency, William Ruto. The partnership is made possible through the generous funding of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
In coordination with the GOK and UNDP, the Center kicked off the virtual workshop series on April 27th. Seminar content includes opportunities to apply theoretical Servant Leadership constructs within the context of the Kenyan governmental ministry experience. Themes and workshop topics include Servant Leader Practitioner Behaviors and Characteristics, Institutional Reforms and Transformation of Organizational Culture, and Sustaining a People First Agenda. Each session allows for highly interactive discussions that lead to engagement in deep reflection on one’s approach to managing and supporting others.
Participants review and reflect upon the seminal writings of Robert K. Greenleaf, within the context of the modern workplace and the nuance and challenges associated with functioning in a large governmental structure. Mr. Greenleaf is considered the founder of the modern movement of Servant Leadership as a result of the 1970 publication of his essay, “The Servant as Leader”. This seminal work provided a new perspective for management science by reframing the entire approach of what was understood as leadership; namely, that the focus of all leaders should not be on positional authority, but on first seeking to serve.
“This training is organized as part of a series for capacity building sessions designed to enhance the capacity and capabilities of top government officials to deliver on the government’s agenda. Starting the capacity building session with Servant Leadership is not by chance. His Excellency, President William Ruto’s vision of the Public Service is a service that is highly performing, citizen centric, efficient, effective, and agile. This focus and accountability to the citizens is premised on strong leadership with a commitment, the knowledge, the skills, and attitudes to put people first,” stated the Honorable Mercy Wanjau, Secretary to the Cabinet, who provided official greetings in the first session on behalf of the Honorable Felix Koskei, Chief of Staff and Head of Public Service.
“It is a great honor for us as UNDP Kenya to be partnering with this grand vision of a bottom-up transformational economic agenda that the Government of Kenya has through the Head of Public Service. And to the Greenleaf Center, it is really a pleasure for us to be able to support the Government of Kenya with your esteemed institution. The Principal Secretaries will be connecting for knowledge, engaging time in continuous learning and putting the people of Kenya at the center of our work,” said Ms. Mandisa Mashologu, Deputy Resident Representative of the UNDP, who provided remarks on behalf of Mr. Anthony Ngororano, Resident Representative of the UNDP.
“On behalf of the Greenleaf Center, it is my pleasure and honor to join with Kenya’s Principal Secretaries and Accounting Officers on a new journey encompassing a philosophy of placing the primary emphasis on the well-being of others. We are deeply grateful to the UNDP to have the opportunity to support His Excellency, President William Ruto’s commitment to strengthen the capacity of government officials to meet the highest priority needs of the citizens of Kenya,” stated Reginald Lewis, the Center’s Executive Director, Adjunct Professor, University Core, Seton Hall University.
Source: Seton Hall University