Robert K. Greenleaf: Servant Leadership

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Leaders are individuals who can inspire and motivate followers through their actions and words. Servant leaders put an emphasis on the needs and desires of others and place them over their own. Servant leadership is rare when compared to other leadership styles. The term servant leadership was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf, in his essay, “Servant Leaders” (Center for Servant Leadership, n.d.). However, servant leadership can be traced back to biblical times, with Jesus being the perfect example of a servant leader. Throughout history, servant leaders have been at the forefront of successful organizations. Servant leadership is rare, when compared to other leadership styles and according to Northouse (2014), focuses on leadership from the point of view of the leader and their behavior. Greenleaf (1970) argues the servant…show more content…
Greenleaf (1970) recognized that organizations as well as individuals could be servant-leaders, identifying key characteristics of servant leadership and provide a creative lens from which to view the complexities of servant leadership; listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the group and building community (Northouse, 2014). Greenleaf defined, servant leadership as “a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately create a more just and caring world” (Center for Servant Leadership, n.d.). Servant leaders like Henry John Heinz, who founded the Heinz Company, have long recognized the importance of treating others with dignity, respect and compassion. Servant leaders, according to Spears (2010) seek to “involve others in decision making” exhibit “ethical and caring behavior” and develop and improve the “growth of workers while improving the caring and quality of organizational life” (Spears, 2010, p.
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