Service: Lens of Reason

Robert K. Greenleaf introduced a term into the circles of leadership literature in 1977. He coined the phrase, servant leadership.  Greenleaf was an executive at AT&T and respected among his peers. Greenleaf suggested:

“The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: do 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?”

The concept of servant leadership was different than other models at the time and it is still being implemented today. In a nutshell, It argued that if you focus on serving people, they will grow and contribute to the overall success of the company.

David Melchar and Susan Bosco noticed that the model had been studied for many years, but lacked empirical evidence to the benefits of the model. They published their findings in the Journal of Business Inquiry in 2010.

“Results indicate that servant leaders can develop a culture of followers who are servant leaders themselves… The servant-leader characteristics with the highest means were in the areas of wisdom, organizational stewardship, and altruistic calling… Servant leadership has been effective within the three companies that participated in this study. The top service ratings at each of these companies add to increased business through customer loyalty..Employees’ personal achievements are related to those of the company; therefore, if a leader can positively influence them to perform at higher levels, they, in turn, will benefit from the organization’s success.

For more info:

Spiritual Discipline: Service Series


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