Follow the leader (servant)

The servant leader is a style of leadership developed by Robert K. Greenleaf and explained in his 1970 book “The Servant As Leader.” Greenleaf’s concept of leadership is that a leader first and foremost must serve.

In the previous modesl of leadership, leaders accumulate power and the perks and privileges of power and delegates responsibilities. According to the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership “The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?

For the spiritual minded, Jesus Christ is the best example of the servant leader. Gandhi and the Rev. Martin Luther King can also be called examples of the servant leader. The concept does sound like it makes sense. However, does servant leadership work in the real world? Will the servant leader be bound down by the duties of his or her responsibility avoiding followers or will the servant leader simply be ignored?

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1 comment
  1. It works. Servant Leadership is practiced on campus by the Business School Dean. He guides, seeks to implement strategic priorities, encourages individual growth (spiritual, professional and personal) and ideas, promotes teamwork and collaboration, and involves others in the decision-making process. We are faculty driven and he leads through stewardship not from a top-down power hierarchy. This type of leadership, where input is sought, creates a sense of value and worth. You also find that private agendas are tempered by the common good. It further results in tenured faculty mentoring new faculty, so that stewardship passes forward. It’s not perfect, but we’re heading in a better direction.

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