Chapter 3. The Concept of the Servant as a Leader 3-3
describes the spirit of Pope John XXIII "…that supported him as he became the disciplined, historically rooted seeker that his life so beautifully modeledand that we who survive him have the option to emulate."
A personal friendship with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972), theologian, educator, philosopher and author, evoked this evaluation, "He was ethical to the core of his being, in the deepest religious sense." The principal impact of George Fox, founder of the Religious Society of Friends in England in the seventeenth century, was "…upon ethical practice, immediately and permanently, in all walks of life." Lastly, in speaking of Martin Luther, Greenleaf describes his advocation of the priesthood of all believers as "…one of the great ideas of this millennium."
While others in different fields also influenced GreenleafDonald John Cowling in education and Robert Frost in poetry, for examplethe religious sector seems dominant, interpreted here as exemplary lives of service through Christ.
Greenleaf's "big idea" is "…that leadership, in the final analysis, must be about service." He covered this topic in four books and a series of essays now collected in one volume. He left for others the task of synthesis and summary, ably performed by a number of his admirers.
What is Servant Leadership?
In all of his works, Greenleaf discusses the need for a new kind of leadership model, a model that puts serving othersincluding employees, customers, and communityas the number one priority. Servant-leadership emphasizes increased service to others; a holistic approach to work; the promotion of a sense of community; and a deepening understanding of spirit in the workplace.
It is important to stress that servant-leadership is not a "quick-fix" approach. Nor is it something that can quickly be instilled within an institution. At its core, servant-leadership is a long-term, transformational approach to life and workin essence, a way of beingthat has the potential for creating positive change throughout our society.2
Ten Characteristics of the Servant-Leader
Larry Spears does a most complete summary3 in his "Introduction" to The Power of Servant Leadership. His ten characteristics, abbreviated and reordered here, are central to the development of servant leaders.
Servant-leadership starts with a commitment to three fundamental responsibilities which form the basis for the subsequent attributes.
1. Stewardship: Robert Greenleaf's view of all institutions was one in which CEOs, staffs, and trustees all played significant roles in holding their institutions in trust for the greater good of society. Servant-leadership, like stewardship, assumes first and foremost a