Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Servant Leadership Model


Do a Google search on "servant leadership" and you will get plenty of hits (2.5 million for me just then). So if you don't know what it is cruise on over to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Servant_leadership and check out the 21st century "Cliff's Notes" on the topic.

Disclaimer:  as this blog is a from of note keeping for me - an extension of my cognitive model of the universe of knowledge - this article and the series of article may be in great flux until complete (or good enough to quit editing).



Greenleaf's enlightenment of Servant Leadership stems from his reading of  Hermann Hesse's short novel, Journey to the East. "Hesse's story is an account of a mythical journey by a group of people on a spiritual quest where the recognition of the true leader of the group takes place as a result of his acts of service and self-sacrifice for the benefit of the whole group. As Spears tells it, upon reading this story, it seemed suddenly clear to Greenleaf that a 'great leader is first experienced as a servant to others, and this simple fact is central to his or her greatness ... true leadership emerges from those whose primary motivation is a deep desire to help others' " (3).

I find it troubling that in Hesse's story the servant leader, Leo, abandons the group and it disbands, failing in it's quest to find the ultimate truth.  Our hero of the story later searches and finds Leo, and it turns out that Leo is the leader of the "League" which sat about to test the group's faith with the journey.  So is this parable to be emulated, do we wish our servant leader's to test and abandon us when we fail?

I do however like the concept of a leader as servant to the followship and the purpose.  I think we should make our diagrams and models reflect this by placing the leaders at the bottom of the diagrams (org charts) with their actions and behaviors supporting the team (followship) within the context of their shared purpose.

This orientation was done on some of the first Org Charts by the railroad.


See Also:

A Review of Leadership Models
What is Servant Leadership - at Greenleaf's Org - he who coins the term, defines the term.
Journey to the East - Wikipedia - Greenleaf's inspiration for the concept


References:

1) Leadership Theory and Practice - 6th Ed. by Peter Northouse.

2) Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness - 25th Ann. Ed. by Robert Greenleaf

3) The Myth of Servant-Leadership: A Feminist Perspective by Deborah Eicher-Catt
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