Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Servant Leadership (Part I)

The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test and the most 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? 

Robert K. Greenleaf

The concept of servant-leadership is one that is both extremely basic and complex at the same time. It is basic in the sense that the foundation of this philosophy is essentially found in morality and treating others with dignity and respect. It is complex in the sense that the traditional model of management and autocratic leadership is so entrenched in our society that making the transition to servant-leadership is far greater than simply making the decision to lead as such. The actual translation of knowledge to action is imperative: Just because you may know or understand the principles of leadership it does not mean that you will act upon them.

Assessing where you are as a leader can be both a daunting and a humbling task but hopefully one that results in a rewarding process. Doing so allows one to take an inventory of the characteristics one embodies and can help speak to the successes and failures you experience as a leader.

In the coming blog posts we will explore the characteristics of servant leadership in greater detail and hopefully give exposure to this leadership philosophy to those who have never heard of it or further the understanding of its ability to empower both the leader and the follower.

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