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3-4  Part I:  Concept and Spirituality of Servant Leadership

commitment  to serving the needs of others.  

2. Commitment to the growth of people:  Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers.  As such, the servant-leader is deeply committed to the growth of each and every individual within his or her institution.  The servant-leader recognizes the tremendous responsibility to do everything within his or her power to nurture the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of employees.  

3. Building community:  The servant-leader seeks to identify means for building community among those who work with a given institution.  Greenleaf said that this could be accomplished "…by each servant-leader demonstrating his [or her] own unlimited liability for a quite specific community-related group."


The servant-leader has two overriding intentions in interacting with others:

4. Empathy: The servant-leader strives to understand and empathize with others.  People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit.  One assumes the good intentions of co-workers and does not reject them as people, even when one is forced to refuse to accept their behavior or performance.  The most successful servant-leaders are those who have become skilled, empathetic listeners.

5. Healing:  The healing of relationships is a powerful force for transformation and integration.  Many people have broken spirits and have suffered from a variety of emotional hurts.  Although this is a part of being human, servant-leaders recognize that they have an opportunity to "help make whole" those with whom they come in contact.  In his essay, "The Servant as Leader," Greenleaf writes, "There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led, is the understanding that the search for  wholeness is something they share."

Managerial Skills

The management skills employed in servant leadership are commonly cited in many texts.  Their potential is dramatically increased when interpreted within the responsibilities and attitudes listed above, and they are given a warmer, kinder, appeal.  The present study applies these skills throughout, recognizing, however, that lasting success is ultimately more dependent on the leader's sense of responsibility and state-of-mind than managerial mechanics.

6. Listening:  Leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision-making skills.  Although these are also important skills for the servant-leader, they need to be reinforced by a deep commitment to listening intently to others.  The servant-leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps clarify that will.  He or she seeks to listen receptively to what is being said (and not said!).  

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