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What is Servant Leadership?

Servant Leadership was first defined and taught by Robert Greenleaf in an essay published in 1970.   Since then many famous writers such as M. Scott Peck, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, and Peter Senge have written about Greenleaf ‘s Servant Leadership model.  Most scholars believe Servant Leadership to be a philosophy as opposed to a theory or concept.
The core characteristics are:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Openness
  • Awareness
  • Persuasion
  • Conceptualization
  • Foresight
  • Stewardship
  • Growth and Development
  • Building/Maintaining Community

Servant Leadership is based around a leadership style that truly seeks to serve others as a means to develop them to their fullest capabilities and is considered by many to be the foundation of leadership itself.  There is the age-old question, “Are leaders born or developed?” Regular leaders may very well be developed, but Servant Leaders possess characteristics that are both inborn and developed and are derived from an inner passion that is difficult for many others to understand.  It is simply “who they are.”

“Servant Leadership is about getting people to a higher level by leading people at a higher level.”
—    Ken Blanchard

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Judy W Bell

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