Tag Archives: The Watercarrier

Watering Your Institutional Memory

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to reinforce your servant leadership. Reading time: 2:36.

The Watercarrier, a sculpture by Allan Houser, on display at Herman Miller Inc’s corporate headquarters in Zeeland, Michigan.

             You’re a servant leader. You display your emotional intelligence and your sense of humility in creating a productive environment, in nurturing the creative zeal of others, in solidifying symbiotic relationships that sustain and grow the organization.

             You know all of that in the abstract.

             But how can you share a concrete image of your role as a servant leader? How can you envision yourself in action long before you assume your duties? How can you leverage an image of a servant leader to help you better prepare for your new role as servant leader?

             For me, it’s the image of a tribal water carrier–those strong and committed colleagues — who literally did the heavy lifting that sustained life.

Doing the Heavy Lifting

           They carried bone-crushing heavy water on their backs that quenched thirst, cleaned soiled hands and healed wounds in harsh conditions.

           You can sense the self-less commitment to others in the hardened surface of The Watercarrier in Allan Houser’s sculpture showcased  at one of America’s most admired companies – Herman Miller Inc., the office furniture company in Zeeland, Michigan. The inscription reads:

       “The tribal water-carrier in this corporation
is a symbol of the essential nature of all jobs,
our interdependence, the identity of ownership
and participation, the servant-hood of leadership,
the authenticity of each individual.”

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