Ten Characteristics of a Servant Leader and Fethullah Gulen – 2

fethullah-gulen-apologyGurkan Celik and Yusuf Alan (2006) continued to analyze the characteristics of Gulen as a servant leader with the foundation laid by Robert Greenleaf and Peter Block to include other inclusive views of points and perspectives.

  1. Conceptualization

Gulen seeks to nurture his abilities to dream great dreams. The ability to look at a problem or a society from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. Gulen stretches his thinking to encompass broader-based conceptual thinking, and seeks a delicate balance between conceptual thinking and a day-to-day operational approach. He always takes local conditions and circumstances into account. According to his followers, Gulen pays a great deal of attention in scanning and studying his environment and conditions, and hones his actions and words to suit the situation and the conjecture of the society. Gulen’s activism and global thinking strongly affirm his capability to conceptualization.

  1. Foresight:

Foresight enables the servant leader to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision for the future. According to those inspired by him, this aspect of Gulen’s leadership is deeply rooted within his intuitive mind. Foresight remains a largely unexplored area in leadership studies, but comes to the fore as the most conspicuous characteristic of Gulen’s leadership when we look at his community leadership since the 1960s. All followers would confirm that Gulen is farsighted and goal-centered. He is able to discern and plan for potential developments. He is able to evaluate the past, present, and future to reach a new synthesis.

  1. Stewardship

Peter Block has defined stewardship as “holding something in trust for another.” Gulen’s views of all institutions are one in which all members of the community played significant roles in holding their institutions in trust for the greater good of society. Servant leadership, like stewardship, assumes first and foremost a commitment to serving the needs of others. Gulen also emphasizes the use of openness and persuasion, rather than control, and points out that dialogue, persuasion, and discussion based on evidence are essential for people who seek to serve humanity. According to his followers, Gulen has a strong character and praiseworthily virtues. He is determined but flexible while carrying out decisions, and knows when to be unyielding and implacable or relenting and compassionate. He knows when to be earnest and dignified, when to be modest, and is always upright, truthful, trustworthy, and just.

  1. Commitment to the growth of people

Gulen is deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual within his community. He recognizes the tremendous responsibility to do everything in his power to nurture the spiritual, personal and professional growth of all people within his community. In regard to Gulen, this includes encouraging people to keep on serving humanity, involvement in decision-making, and caring for each other.

  1. Building community

Greenleaf said: “All that is needed to rebuild community as a viable life form for large numbers of people is for enough servant leaders to show the way, not by mass movements, but by each servant leader demonstrating his or her unlimited devotion to a quite specific community-related group.” The community, which has formed around Gulen, is itself a concrete example of the principle of building community of servant leadership. The majority of those inspired by him stressed that modesty, an absence of worldly ambitions and abuse of authority are the crucial aspects of his enlarging community. Leaders should live like the poorest members of their community. They should never discriminate among their subjects; rather, they should strive to love them, prefer them to themselves, and act so that their people will love them sincerely. They should be faithful to their community, and secure their community’s loyalty and devotion in return. Gulen concentrates on making the community very clear and distinct, by separating it from other communities. He constantly attempts to build the image of the community in the hearts and minds of his followers.

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