Servant Leadership Resources

The Center for Servant Leadership

The language of “servant-leadership” emerged as a fitting way to convey the spirit of this distinctively Gustavus understanding of leadership.

The phrase “servant-leadership” was coined in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf, a longtime executive with AT&T, in his wellknown essay “The Servant as Leader.” Greenleaf argued that the “best test” of a servant leader is this:

“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 impact on the least privileged in society; will he benefit, or, at least, will he not be further deprived?”

Servant leadership is not so much a theoretical model of leadership, or a checklist of techniques or strategies to follow, as it is a way of being. Servant leadership does not depend on occupying an social position of authority or a formal leadership role. Anyone can be a servant leader, because everyone can serve. 

TEN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SERVANT LEADER
Larry Spears, “Practicing Servant-Leadership.” Leader to Leader Journal, Fall 2004

1. LISTENING: A deep commitment to listening intently to others.
2. EMPATHY: People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits.
3. HEALING: “Help make whole” those with whom they come in contact.
4. AWARENESS: Awareness, and self-awareness, aids one in understanding issues involving ethics and values. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed.
5. PERSUASION: Seeks to convince others rather than coerce compliance or use one’s positional authority. Building consensus within groups.
6. CONCEPTUALIZATION: Balancing creative thinking with the world’s realities.
7. FORESIGHT: Uunderstand the lessons of the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision for the future. Deeply rooted within the intuitive mind.
8. STEWARDSHIP: Holding one’s institutions in trust for the greater good of society.
9. COMMITMENT TO THE GROWTH OF PEOPLE: People have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. Personal, professional, and spiritual growth.
10. BUILDING COMMUNITY: Seeks to identify some means of building community among those who work within a given institution.

Other Servant Leardship Resources
Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

Spears Center for Servant Leadership