Saturday, 26 July 2014

10 Principles of Servant Leadership, by Robert Greenleaf

Image courtesy of Marcus74id /

Robert Greenleaf coined the phrase 'Servant Leadership' a generation ago.  Here is what he meant then, and why it is still so relevant today...
1.  Listening - When you are a servant leader you make a commitment to listening intently to others.  You also seek to identify and clarify the will of a group.  Paying close attention to what is being said but sometimes more importantly what is not being said.
2.   Empathy - What is empathy?  To help clarify, we’ll define sympathy first.  Sympathy is implying pity but you maintain distance from another’s feelings.  For example, feeling sorry for a person,  “I’m really sorry that happened to you.”    Empathy on the other hand is more a sense that one can truly understand or imagine the depth of another person’s feelings.  It’s like saying, “I feel you man! I feel ya! And I’m right there with ya!”
3.  Healing – Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one’s self and others.
4.  Awareness – General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Deciding to be self-aware can be scary, you never know what you might discover.
5.  Persuasion – Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce  compliance.
6.  Conceptualization – Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to “dream great dreams.”  The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a  conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities.
7.    Foresight – Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future.
8.  Stewardship – Robert Greenleaf’s view of all institutions was one in which CEO’s, staff, directors, and trustees all play significant roles in holding their institutions accountable for the greater good of society.
9.  Commitment to the Growth of People – Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic worth beyond their tangible contributions as workers.  As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to the personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.
10.  Building Community – Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions has led to us having a changed perception of community and an overall feeling of communal loss.  Bottom line is we just aren’t as close as we once were.
Photo; Image courtesy of Marcus74id /

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