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Leadership through Service November 12, 2013

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

As stated in my prior blog, the concept of servant leadership has been around since 1970, however, there have been several leaders that came before this model was brought to light who were ahead of their time such as: Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, just to name a few!

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela

There are numerous traits that servant leaders have such as: compassion, vision, inspiration, respect, empathy, selflessness, and trustworthiness.  These key traits help make servant leaders very effective leaders. As we continue to have an increase in NGO’s, not-for-profits organizations, grass roots organizations, environmental activists, etc., it seems that these types of organizations have been trending towards the servant leadership style in the way that they view leadership and the way to treat their people, the causes they care for, and the communities around them. 

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” Mother Teresa

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(Photo provided by: http://www.leadingtoabettercommunity.com/?p=86)

The Latin words primus inter pares means “first among equals” and best describes a servant leader.  In Robert Greenleaf’s essay,The Servant as Leader he states:“It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant–first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.”

Are you a servant leader? 

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

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What is a Servant Leader? November 8, 2013

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.~Alan Cohen

What is a Servant Leader?

Servant Leader/ship has evolved into a popular leadership model.  In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf developed this model and his thought process behind the concept of Servant Leadership happens when a person/s reach out to serve others and leave behind the command and control models of leadership by focusing on being more in tune with the needs of others.

The word ‘Servant’ in this concept would be a person/s that devotes his/herself to meet the needs of those people that he/she lead plus work to serve the needs of organization members.  Also, the ‘Servant’ works in developing employees to be the best they can be by encouraging self expression and personal growth by working to build a sense of community and joint ownership.

A great Servant Leader is so effective at meeting the needs of those working around them that their followers can reach their full potential and perform to the best of his/her ability.  There is a strength in looking at this type of leadership because it moves us past the self-serving and domineering leadership style.  Servant Leadership has more of a focus on how to respect, value, encourage, and mentor the people that report to the team leader.

The concept and principles of Servant Leadership are quite admirable but t is the societal image of “Servant” that can be a problem and at times misleading. Hopefully, everyone has a better idea of what a Servant Leader is because my next blog will share some components surrounding the concept of Servant Leadership/Leaders.