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
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