March 29, 2009

Servant Leadership

Last week I heard about Servant Leadership from one of my colleagues. The concept made me interested and I went on to do some reading. This leadership philosophy has resonated in me and I am in search of a deeper insight of this in today's corporate world.

Servant Leadership is a leadership philosophy where you serve first and then be the leader. This philosophy was presented by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970 where he said:
"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. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature." (courtesy -

A servant leader is identified of having the following charecteristics:
  1. Calling - a calling to serve others
  2. Listening - a keen interest to listen to others views
  3. Empathy - an ability to understand others situation
  4. Healing - to emotionally support when things are not all well for someone
  5. Awareness - an awareness of the surrounding and being informed of the happenings
  6. Persuasion - others work for you because they want to and not because they have to
  7. Conceptualization - an environment to encourage others to share ideas openly
  8. Foresight - an ability to anticipate the future happenings and trends as much as possible
  9. Stewardship - to work for the larger benefit of the society
  10. Growth - help others grow
  11. Building Community - develop a sense of being in a community among the team members
There is a sense of calmness and selflessness in the leadership approach. Collaboration, empowerment and foresight are so necessary in today's corporate life. Servant leadership talks of all this and more. It encourages a sense of bonding and a spirit of team work to achieve organizational goals where many are surely more 'powerful' than one.

Does Servant Leadership appeal to you? How many of the above charecteristics do you practice? Are you a servant leader?

Thanks for reading.