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October 2007 - Servant-Leadership

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

October  2007

Servant-Leadership

Many books and articles on servant-leadership have appeared since Robert Greenleaf wrote about it nearly forty years ago.  Although Greenleaf popularized the phrase servant-leader, the concept of servant-leadership has been around for a long time.  Simply stated, Servant-leaders lead because it is the best way for them to serve others.  Their desire to serve causes them to seek leadership opportunities.

Kautilya, a 4th century thinker from India,  said a king or leader should consider as good not what pleases self but what pleases his subjects or followers.  Even earlier, Jesus claimed He came not to be served, but to serve; and whoever wants to become the greatest will become a servant.

The term servant-leadership brings to mind public servants, clergypersons, and others in the helping professions.  Yet more and more individuals in the corporate world are striving to be servant-leaders because it is the right thing to do and because it yields greater personal satisfaction.  But there is also a utilitarian reason for being a servant-leader; servant-leadership promotes follower and employee satisfaction—and satisfied people are productive people.  Simply stated, people accomplish more under servant-leadership.

I have lived nearly seven decades and I am convinced the happiest, most fulfilled and most effective leaders display an attitude of servant-leadership.  My Dad had it right when he said, "we are in this world to help others."  Servant-leaders want to help others.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com

April 2007 - How to Win
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