Monday, October 6, 2014

What is Servant Leadership?

In DeMolay, we often talk about the idea of servant leadership. It's a style of leadership that I have attempted to adopt as I have taken on roles in other Masonic organizations. It's served me well, but I recently began to ponder where it came from and its true definition.

According to Wikipedia, the idea of servant leadership has existed from time immemorial. From the Tao Te Ching, to the Gospel of Mark, to the doctrines of Islam, the ideas of servant leadership have been a major part of movements for thousands of years. However, the term "servant leadership" was coined in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf, a management executive, in his essay "The Servant as Leader." In it, Greenleaf wrote:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: 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 effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“

Greenleaf's paper ignited the management community and his new style of leadership became quite popular. Others would go on to research his idea and later the 10 Principles of Servant Leadership were established. They are as follows:
  • Listening: A servant leader puts the emphasis upon listening effectively to others.
  • Empathy: A servant leader needs to understand others' feelings and perspectives.
  • Healing: A servant leader helps foster each person's emotional and spiritual health and wholeness.
  • Awareness: A servant leader understands his or her own values and feelings, strengths and weaknesses.
  • Persuasion: A servant leader influences others through their persuasiveness.
  • Conceptualization: A servant leader needs to integrate present realities and future possibilities.
  • Foresight: A servant leader needs to have a well developed sense of intuition about how the past, present, and future are connected.
  • Stewardship: A servant leader is a steward who holds an organization's resources in trust for the greater good.
  • Commitment to the growth of people: A servant leader is responsible for serving the need of others.
  • Building community: A servant leader is to help create a sense of community among people.
These are great principles to put into effect when you are leading a DeMolay Chapter. They serve as sort of a "road map" of how a leader should behave.

Now, how can you apply these ideas in your life to become a better servant leader?

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

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