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Building Bridges: The Future in Collaboration

Updated: Mar 28, 2022

Do you know that lack of interpersonal relationships with people is a sickness? The purpose of this article is to (1) Learn integrity in relationship building, (2) Understand the strategies to overcome interpersonal relationship sickness, (3) Learn the importance of building bridges and (4) Understanding collaboration as the new normal in servant leadership . Bridge-building strongly connects to servant leadership.   The study will highlight how to overcome prejudices, hate, and inequality through bridge-building - by partnering, networking, building relationships and collaborating. 

The paper, thematically clustered, draws relevant themes from the article.

This article will relate to the Ubuntu Philosophy of (1) Building Bridges, (2) Ethics of Care and (3) Servant Leadership.


Building bridges involves creating a community of change-makers. Bridge-building strongly connects to servant leadership, collaboration, interpersonal/relationship building.  Greenleaf (1977) essay, "Servant leadership as a leader", describes servant leaders as builders of a better, more caring and humanistic society. 


Servant leaders believe in a community united by a shared goal and vision. Notable thought leaders like Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Mother Teresa, etc. have walked with the servant leadership philosophy deeply rooted in the concern for people. 

These scholars (Greenleaf, 2002) contend that a servant leader becomes a servant first, and (Jackson and Hackman, 2018) implied that the practice and philosophy of servant leadership are deep in the concern for others.  Servant leaders act as collaborators, and their main focus and goal are to create inclusivity, inspiring a culture of care that fosters support and empathy.


Approach / Results 


The approach used in this article is the Ubuntu Philosophy/methodology of (a) Building Bridges; (b) Ethics of Care; (c) Servant Leadership. The result of the research thematically clustered draws meaningful themes from Ubuntu Methodology,


Lack of Interpersonal Relationship is a Sickness: this theme is deeply rooted in the Ubuntu Philosophy (Ethics of Care). According to Clinical Researchers/Psychologists, persons who lack interpersonal relationships with people are mentally sick.  The Journal of Occupational Health (Ulrich, Lennart, Gun and Ingvar, 2009) contend that a poor interpersonal relationship, low work and daily living support, breeds depression, serving as the number one leading cause of disability and mental health.


We can overcome interpersonal relationship sickness by (i) encouraging one another through acts of love and kindness; (ii) genuinely caring about other people's work and daily lives; (iii) being easily approachable by being generous with our time; (iv) encouraging others through the show of affection and empathy.

This strategy builds a healthy and encouraging environment, bringing about respect, trust, honesty, and bonding. 


Integrity in Relationship Building: this theme promotes the Ubuntu Methodology of (Servant Leadership). To live a life of selfless service - full of dedication and commitment, you have to do more than your fair share of the work. In (Greenleaf, 2002) literature, the scholar implied that servant leaders are first servants before leaders. The willingness to show empathy should be front and centre - learning, supporting and promoting fairness, inclusion and diversity. 


This strategy builds a strong community, managing teams with exceptional performance using integrity in relationship building.


Collaboration is the New Normal in Servant Leadership: a study published in the International Journal of Servant Leadership promotes three (3) main attributes of collaboration (1) Effective Communication, (2) Leading by Example and (3) Putting and valuing people first (Daniel, 2013). This theme is deeply related to the Ubuntu Philosophy of Building Bridges. It reveals the ultimate characteristics of servant leadership.


Servant leadership fosters collaboration, and collaboration engenders a community of bridge-builders.  This theme shows that prejudices, hate, inequality, injustices, etc., can be overcome by promoting collaboration. In (Jiang and Linjuan, 2017) research study, the researchers purport that valuing people, collaborating and effectively communicating reduces prejudices, inequality and hate. It fosters harmony, trust, fairness, inclusiveness and a diverse world. 


Therefore, collaborating, networking, partnering, building bridges, is not jealous or hateful. It promotes emotional intelligence by harnessing the power of many. It inspires co-operation, not competition. It focuses on more 'We' and less 'I'. It overcomes obstacles by putting people first. It recognises each other's strengths by treating everyone with respect. 


In summary, the themes revealed in this article show that bridge-building strongly connects to community, collaboration and servant leadership.


Conclusions / Further Work 


To be great is to serve others. In the service of others, you find yourself. This article uncovered three key themes from the research. These themes are in tandem with the Ubuntu Philosophy of (a) Building Bridges; (b) Ethics of Care; (c) Servant Leadership. 


The researcher implied that greatness is a call to serve. To be a great servant leader, you must immerse yourself in the service of others by taking care of those in your stead. Future research will look at how servant leadership strongly connects to the community in more detail.



References


Daniel, V. B. (2013). Creating a Context for Collaboration. The International Journal of Servant-Leadership, 8/9(1), 249-265. Retrieved from https://www-proquest-com.ergo.southwales.ac.uk/docview/2221693098/fulltextPDF/7A5151E92AF94EE0PQ/1?accountid=15324


Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (L. C. Spears, Ed.; 25th anniversary ed.). Paulist Press. (Original work published 1977)


Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant Leadership. Mahwah: Paulist Press.


Jiang, H., and Linjuan, R.  M. (2017). Creating an Engaged Employee Workforce: The Impact of Authentic Leadership, Transparent Organizational Communication, and Work-life Enrichment. Communication Research, 44(2), 225-243. doi:10.1177/0093650215613137


Johnson, C. E., and Hackman, M. Z. (2018). Leadership: A Communication Perspective. 7th Ed. Long Grove: Waveland.


Tkalac, V.  A, & Poloski, N.  V. (2017). Engaging employees through internal communication. Public Relations Review. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.04.0 05


Ulrich, S, Lennart, H, Gun, J and Ingvar, L. (2009). Problematic Interpersonal Relationships at Work and Depression: A Swedish Prospective Cohort Study. Journal of Occupational Health, 51, 144-151. doi:10.1539/joh.L8134.


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