In my community, our church had always wanted to do something to give back and provide assistance to people but no one in the parish could decide on an appropriate task. I came up with the idea of having a ravioli dinner to celebrate the community's Italian heritage and having an all-day benefit by selling pots of ravioli (the community could come in with whatever size pot they had and fill it up with ravioli for $10 a pot) and giving the proceeds to the local homeless shelter. I utilized my servant leadership skills to help move this idea into action by leading others through giving them whatever assistance they needed. I surrounded myself with like-minded individuals from the parish -- about half of dozen (to help organize) and asked them what they needed to make this idea a reality; through these discussions I was able to supply these helpers with the tools and time they needed to make this change in our parish and turn this event into an annual fund drive to benefit the homeless in the community. We arranged cooks, clean-up, neighborhood businesses to provide support (ingredients), and a team to promote the dinner. Every year we do this event and I continue to lead the team by providing servant leadership each year.
My main approach to leading this event was to provide servant leadership, but I also utilized authentic leadership because there were individuals within the parish who had organized events like this before and had some advice to give (so I sought them out and listened to their advice before beginning any work). I was very transparent with all volunteers, telling them that I had no experience in this sort of project before but that I was committed to seeing it successfully implemented and that whatever they needed any time to come to me and I would assist them. I made myself transparent and available and thus utilized both authentic and servant leadership styles (Wong and Laschinger, 2013; Dinh et al., 2014; Spence et al.
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What I wanted to change was the parish church's orientation to the community. For many years the parish had been in the community but there had been virtually no outreach to the community, nothing done by the church to connect it to others outside the parish. The idea I had was to connect the church with locals from the community and develop a more significant relationship. Thus, I struck upon the idea of the ravioli dinner because this celebrated the community's heritage (mainly Italian) and allowed many different people to come to the church, meet others, and enjoy a lot of ravioli for a cheap price. It also allowed local businesses an opportunity to contribute to the event by donating materials and ingredients. Many people who never before worked together now were all part of an event designed to celebrate the community's heritage and give back to the community by donating proceeds to the local homeless shelter to help unfortunate persons.
I was very successful in leading this operation because I took the time to interview persons who had organized events like this before, which provided me with the necessary information to develop and implement a successful operation. This was the essence of my authentic leadership approach. I also used servant leadership because this was a big event and the half dozen helpers I had needed motivation, assistance with their designated tasks, and information on how best to proceed. For instance, the person responsible for advertising the ravioli dinner was having trouble knowing how to promote the affair. I discussed the issue with her and we found that what she really needed….....