Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.¹
The Servant Leader philosophy fits in very well with traditional Dakotah Values. This kind of Leadership isn’t about gathering as much wealth to a privileged few. Servant Leaders create systems and develop practices that benefit as many people as possible. They coach others, and ensure their employees have the tools and skills needed to succeed.
This is the kind of Leadership that is badly needed at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, and is why the Removal of Vice-Chair Donovan White and the forced Resignation of Secretary Crystal Heminger can be viewed as failures of Chairman Flute’s Leadership style. Worst, he fails the entire Oyate of voters who elected White and Heminger.
It’s not realistic to expect newly elected officials to know everything their is about their positions. It takes any new employee about 100 days to really understand everything that’s going on. During that time, there should be an Orientation process, where staff learns about the policies and procedures. Mistakes will be made, but good leaders make allowances for this, and coach new staff through this phase.
Basic IT Tools
The Information Technology Department under Chairman Flute seemed to deliberately prevent the Vice-Chairman’s staff from doing their Constitutional duties. They failed to provide basic tools like computers, access to data/information, and even phones. Then the Vice-Chair’s office was blamed for finding work-arounds. Worst of all, the IT department “wiped clean” the computers that belonged to previous Vice-Chair staff. (See previous article: An IT Breach or IT Failure?)
Chairman Flute’s Administration seems to be shaping up to be the worst in Tribal history – with these removals/resignations of elected officials costing upwards of $75,000 each, the loss of a $713,000 Barker Hill grant, the purchases of homes at twice their value, and a multi-million dollar grocery store. And that’s just in his first year! Aye-yi-yi!