Before the days of Ken Blanchard and his “servant-leadership fad” was Robert Greenleaf, the “mind” behind the notion of Servant-Leadership.

In his essential book, Servant Leadership, Greenleaf makes this challenging statement:

The best test but difficult to administer in evaluating one’s own ‘servant-first’ leadership, is to ask if ‘those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?’

We tend to think servant-leadership is a very passive and reactive style of leadership, humbling ourselves to the needs of those around us. And though that is true, there is also a very proactive side of servant-leadership that deals with developing, nurturing, and coaching, not allowing people to settle for their own status quo.

  • So, in light of the people you invest in, what kind of people are they becoming?
  • Do you feel any paradox between the need to create autonomy while still upholding the interdependence of community (how God has designed us)?
  • Is the lack of developing people to become freer more autonomous people an act of abusive power by the leader?

~ by Dave Smith on March 14, 2008.

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