SERVANT LEADERSHIP: A BRIEF REVIEW

Dr. Tony Baron

 

The measure of a leader is what he or she does with power. Servant leadership, coined first by Robert Greenleaf in 19691, is a leadership system that seeks to serve first, then lead.  Legitimate power that manifests itself in great leadership is born through sacrifice, not entitlement. Servant leadership, the subordinating of one’s self to a higher purpose or principle, creates a moral authority that other systems of leadership can never match.  This kind of leadership inspires others to become part of a cause worthy of their own personal sacrifice in the workplace and creates for them a desire to be part of a greater narrative than themselves.  This kind of leadership recognizes the end never justifies the means.  In fact, the goals and the processes to reach those goals are inseparable.  This kind of leadership “inspires, equips, and encourages those we influence in order to maximize the potential of people, profit, and planet.”2   This kind of leadership is not designed to be myopic, meaning that the corporation exists only to make a maximum profit thought best accomplished by treating employees as tools and customers with deceptive practices in return on investment. Rather this kind of leadership balances the dignity of every human being with the efficiency necessary to run a healthy organization.  This kind of leadership starts with character, then competency and chemistry.