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Servant Leader: Is that a Paradox?

When you stop and think about the term “Servant Leader”, it really does appear to be a paradox.  From our conceptual understanding of language, we are led to think of a servant as one who is “serving” and a leader as the one who is in “power.”  The two words together seem to cancel each other.  They are a paradox… the appearance of perfect contradiction. In reality, the term Servant Leader is a leadership style that emphasizes trust, integrity, communication, and the ethical use of power.  This leadership style comes from both intrinsic traits as well as learned skills and is viewed as a life-long process of being, learning, and doing.  And while at first glance servant leadership appears to be paradoxical, it is the true essence of leadership. The Paradoxes of Being a “Servant-Leader” poem
Strong enough to be weak Successful enough to fail Busy enough to make time Wise enough to say, “I don’t know” Serious enough to laugh Rich enough to be poor Right enough to say, “I’m wrong” Compassionate enough to discipline Mature enough to be childlike Important enough to be last Planned enough to be spontaneous Controlled enough to be flexible Free enough to endure captivity Knowledgeable enough to ask questions Loving enough to be angry Great enough to be anonymous Responsible enough to play Assured enough to be rejected Victorious enough to lose Industrious enough to relax Leading enough to serve Poem by Brewer — as cited by Hansel, in Holy Sweat p 29, Dallas Texas, Word, 1987.
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Judy W Bell

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