Why Cesar Chavez’s leadership is important to study
Studying Cesar Chavez leadership style is important because the findings help in determining what actually made Chavez to demonstrate servant leadership style when he advocated for the rights of the farm workers. Chavez was a Christian and it was a Christian organization, which influenced him to develop his servant leadership (Wells 5). In Mexico, Chavez is recognized and celebrated like other servant leaders that have lived before such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi but most importantly as a Christian that portrayed servant leadership. Since his death in 1993, many have struggled to define the legacy he left behind. Thus, much of what is written about Caser Chavez in most published literatures is disputed. Most literatures claim that secularism motivated his servant leadership instead of focusing on how his religion influenced his leadership style. In the end, the spiritual aspect of Chavez life has been removed completely from the picture making him look like he was “Christ-less”. The actual truth according to Wells is that Chavez unlike other known servant leaders was a Christian whose leadership was purely guided by God (6). Cesar sought to find the best way to make a permanent change for migrating farm workers, which was the use of nonviolent means to voice the concerns of the workers nationally. Just as other servant leaders did, Cesar was familiar with the needs of the farm workers and he chose to be their servant first to advocate for their rights. The farm workers Cesar led trusted in his leadership and they followed his example and leadership in their effort to make their lives better as farm workers (Ortiz).
What Chavez saw in the world that motivated the development of his servant leadership?
Cesar lived in the 1900s at the time when the American society was deeply corrupted by racism and other forms of social discrimination. Thus, to Cesar, the world around him lacked ethical leaders that could consider the interests of others. That is, no leader worked for the best interests of the minority groups and the structures in place only favored the dominating community. During the 1960s, there were many marches where the less fortunate marched to push for social changes. Therefore, the marches that Chavez led were among the many marches that were there under the Civil Rights Movement. From a religious perspective, Chavez viewed the marches as those that had some religious meaning. Chavez recognized the marches as traditional practices that the Spanish people practiced when they developed feelings of hatred and wanted to revenge. The marches helped them to relieve those feelings and have peace with the help from the Lord (Wells 7). Thus with time, Chavez learned the easy way of advocating for the rights of workers non-violently and he hoped that one day there will be a revolution. Cesar considered it natural to support the needy people as he thought that how people should live by supporting one another. To develop the leadership skills he desired, Cesar read many books about the leadership practices of other leaders that fought for the rights of the oppressed people. In addition, he read widely to gain knowledge in political science, economics, management, and philosophy. More so, Cesar interacted with influential religious men that introduced him to servant leadership practices and gave him an opportunity to practice them in the work they gave him in organizing services for the community (Guerra).
Cesar’s perceptions of the world around him gained from his key experiences
Cesar was born in 1927 to a well off family that was Mexican-American. The family lived in Yuma, Arizona but it lost its home due to some tax issues and that made the family become migrating farm workers. Thus, Cesar at his school-going age worked in other people’s fields whose working conditions were harmful to humans. Cesar struggled on and later joined the military but still lived in poverty after he married and it was at this time when he met the two religious men that began to make a change in his life. Nevertheless, the struggles that Cesar went through together with his family made him realize that the world is comprised of people that succeed at the expense of others. However, as a Christian he believed that Christians should face their struggles in the world honestly and be willing to take the risks of suffering for the sake of others just as the Lord did. Thus, to aspire changing the lives of the farm workers, Chavez believed that by soul-force pushed through the marches would one day happen. Chavez made use of the work that Cesar was given was in favor of the Mexican-American farm workers that needed a better life especially improved working conditions to find out what could be done to make the anticipated change better. As Cesar gathered more information, he knew that it would not be easy to realize the change and that he needed to be patient and endure many intimidations when advocating for the rights of the farm workers. When his Christian organization (California Migrant Ministry) could not agree with his new views, Cesar left and created his own association for farm workers nationally. By doing so, his only support was his wife and where he needed a major push, he fasted for many days to be closer to God and to be assured that he was following God’s Will. Thus, Chavez continued to suffer for the sake of the workers and from his struggles, he hoped that people will opt to participate in the struggles until justice prevails across the globe. After his doctor had advised him that he needed to break his fast, many consumers boycotted buying the farm produce, which caused the farm owners to make the required changes. Thus, Cesar viewed the world as one that needed unusual tactics to make desirable changes and his former organization feared going that extra mile to make changes needed for the oppressed (Wells 7-8).
A statement assessing Cesar’s leadership policy and strategies
Human nature as perceived by Cesar fails when it lacks a purpose and a meaning. People need to be self-actualized by establishing what they can do to make things they found better. Humans are naturally servitudes and therefore, they should be of service to others around them to improve their lives. Cesar trained his followers and the political leaders what servitude is all about and what it can do to make leaders ethical. That is what is still celebrated about Cesar Chavez up to this day since he died in 1993 (Garcia 231-233).
Garcia, Richard A. “Cesar Chavez: A Personal and Historical Testimony.” Pacific Historical Review 63.2 (1994): 225-233. Print
Guerra, Elaine G. Cesar Chavez: From the Fields an Extraordinary Leader is Cultivated. 2016. Web. Retrieved< https://sites.psu.edu/leaderfoundationsdobbs/2016/09/25/cesar-chavez-from-the-fields-an-extraordinary-leader-is-cultivated/>.
Ortiz, Maria. Cesar E. Chavez- The Man and the Servant Leader. (n.d). Web. Retrieved< http://chavez.cde.ca.gov/ModelCurriculum/Teachers/Lessons/Resources/Documents/The_Man_and_the_Servant-Leader_Essay.pdf>.
Wells, Ronald A. Cesar Chavez’s protestant allies: The California Migrant Ministry and the farm workers. 2009. Web. Retrieved< https://libraries.ucsd.edu/farmworkermovement/essays/essays/cec.pdf>.
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