Wikipedia says, “Servant leadership is an approach to leadership development, coined and defined by Robert Greenleaf, and advanced by several authors such as Stephen Covey, Peter Block, Peter Senge, Max De Pree, Margaret Wheatley, Ken Blanchard, and others.
“Servant leadership emphasizes the leader’s role as steward of the resources (human, financial and otherwise) provided by the organization. It encourages leaders to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization’s values and integrity.”
When I first came across the concept of servant leadership more than a decade ago, I rebelled against it. Somehow it seemed to offend my ego; perhaps it riled my testosterone! “I’m not anyone’s servant. I’m the boss. I haven’t been working my way toward the top of my industry to become a servant!”
And yet, somehow the concept resonated in another part of me.
The importance of duty and public service were instilled in me by my father, mainly by caring example and being a role model of altruism. I knew that with great power came great responsibility. I had been blessed and it was my duty to share those blessings. I could not expect life to be generous with me if I were stingy with life.
First I became comfortable with steward leadership and then, eventually, with servant leadership. I came to believe that service to others is one of the highest callings a person can aspire to, one of the noblest acts, much more enriching than pursuit of mere mammon.
No, I’ve not joined the priesthood or become St. Francis of Assisi (though he was the son of Pietro di Bernardone, a prominent businessman). It is simply that there is an ever-evolving and growing spiritual side to this populist capitalist, and I like it.