Farewell, UT Law – A Culture of Servant-Leadership – Leading As Lawyers


Yet, improve is in the air . . . personally, I am enthusiastic to see how the up coming chapter of my life reads [and] I appear ahead to handing off the baton and heading for the mountains.

Dean Douglas Blaze

University of Tennessee Faculty of Law

As I method retirement after just about 3 a long time at UT Regulation, I have been wondering about what I realized and what has meant the most to me. The legislation university has been a extremely distinctive location for a prolonged time. Our powerful perception of group, our shared mission to educate foreseeable future attorneys successfully and comprehensively, and our motivation to serve and improve our job and neighborhood sets us apart. But how and why? How has the regulation university managed to maintain those characteristics for so lengthy?

For me the answer is that the legislation faculty enjoys a specific culture of management. But not management vested in a one leader or series of leaders. In its place, a lifestyle of management that is a process, not a posture. A management course of action in which all the school are fully engaged. And, most vital, a culture grounded in a exclusive variety of leadership – servant-leadership.  

The principle of servant-leadership has been about for a long time, but it been given renewed interest by an essay by Robert Greenleaf released in 1970 [1]. According to Greenleaf, a servant-leader focuses mainly on the advancement and very well-staying of persons and the communities to which they belong. The servant-chief shares energy, places the desires of other individuals initial, and will help folks develop, accomplish, and achieve their opportunity. Servant-leaders, as reflected in the word buy, are servants to start with and leaders 2nd. Their services is how they lead.

When I imagine of my colleagues more than the decades – persons like Dick Wirtz, Jerry Black, Carol Parker, and Tom Galligan – I understand various shared characteristics.  

Initial, they cared and shown a kindness and concern for their colleagues, students, employees, and clients.  Each of them really valued all users of the law faculty community. 

Next, every of them promoted the law faculty and other individuals, not by themselves. Each of them had egos to be sure, but their egos did not get in the way of their management. Their egos were being channeled into institutional achievement and accomplishment and recognition of the accomplishment and achievements of some others.  

3rd, each individual of them was dependable entirely. They ended up, in their individual specific way, authentic and dependable. They experienced everyone’s again and everybody realized that they did.    

Fourth, they were hardly ever certain and commonly shared their uncertainty. So, they willingly listened and definitely wanted to learn from other individuals. Their technique assisted them superior realize what was necessary and how to achieve it.

But most crucial, their most important goal was to make the legislation faculty the extremely finest it could be. That goal and the tone it established – shared by so several of their school colleagues, staff members, and even college students – helped build and maintain a society of servant-management. They helped develop an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and regard. I have been blessed to be element of it.

Still, change is in the air. Various senior college and personnel are retiring. Individually, I am excited to see how the future chapter of my daily life reads. I seem forward to handing off the baton and heading for the mountains.

But most of all, I am fired up about the potential of the establishment that means so much to me. All of the alterations give new issues and contemporary prospects. I am self-confident the faculty will satisfy the challenges effectively and take whole advantage of the prospects. As I seem close to at my colleagues, I know the shared tradition of servant-leadership will continue on. The long run is incredibly vivid. And it will be exciting to observe.

[1] Robert K. Greenleaf, The Servant as Leader (1970).


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