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Servant Leadership Essay

3937 words - 16 pages


Servant Leadership

BUSI 502 – Servant Leadership

Professor Kahlib Fischer

Rachel Murray

Liberty University

October 9, 2010


In the process of interviewing a servant leader, this paper investigates the defining behavior of servant leadership from a practical and philosophical standpoint. There are practical behavioral characteristics that can be uniformly integrated into the business infrastructure that is founded upon Biblical principles yet not used as a pool to proselytize. Through research and group discussion boards, this paper analyzes the institutional ...view middle of the document...

Servant Leadership is a term that was coined by Robert Greenleaf. He wrote, “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first” (, 2008). Greenleaf explains that a servant-leader wants to serve first where as a leader, is one who wants to lead first. He goes on to discuss how there are self-centered reasons for one who desires to lead first which includes an unusual drive for power or to acquire or gain material things. This is in contrast to the servant-leader who seeks to ensure that other people’s needs are being served first.
Matthew 20:25-28 brings forth the commandment for leadership when Jesus said, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant… just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (NIV). Three chapters later in Matthew, Jesus even tells the disciples that whoever is the greatest amongst them will be their servant. This is the truest definition of what servant-leadership is.
The world of today with it’s fast-paced agenda to get more down in less time has brought forth frustrations, anxieties and burnout from leadership and employees alike. Therefore, wisdom is required and goals established by businesses and organizations must include in their expected outcomes, the defining qualities of a leader and in more particular, a servant-leader. For example, as Greenleaf asks, “Do those served grow as persons, do they while being served become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous (self-reliant), more likely themselves to become servants” (McGee-Cooper, 2007)? In order for a business to deal with and overcome the dichotomy of an every changing society, a foundational process must be implemented at every level of the business model.
When a leader is known as a servant-leader then certain characteristics or behaviors will be evident in the way they lead. They include:
• The ability to listen on a deeper level and truly understand.

• The ability to hear without judgment. To keep an open mind.

• The ability to hold ambiguity and paradox in mind, honoring all sides of a complex issue, knowing there are always "third and fourth right answers".

• The belief that the process of honestly sharing critical challenges/problems with all parties and inviting their ideas and support is often more important than providing solutions. The first honors the potential of others to solve their own problems, whereas solutions from the outside can breed dependence and imply that good answers come from experts, others or above.

• Clear on goals and good at pointing the direction.

• Servant, helper, and teacher first, then leader.

• Takes time to think, rather than just reacting.

• Chooses words carefully, so as not to damage those being led.

• Uses intuition and foresight.

• Sees things whole, sensing relationships...

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