Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness

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Paulist Press, Jan 1, 2002 - Business & Economics - 370 pages
30 Reviews
With the publication of Servant Leadership in 1977, a new paradigm of management entered the boardrooms and corporate offices of America. Robert K. Greenleaf, a retired AT&T executive, proposed that service ought to be the distinguishing characteristic of leadership. Not only would it create better, stronger companies, he said, but business leaders themselves "would find greater joy in their lives if they raised the servant aspect of their leadership and built more serving institutions." In the quarter century since these ideas were first articulated, the notion of servant leadership has gained ever more disciples in business schools, among executives, in government and in public and private institutions. Greenleaf was among the first to analyze the qualities of leaders and followers--and the necessity for leaders to be attentive to the needs of others. In this respect the leader becomes a follower. Such a leader, said Greenleaf, constantly inquires whether "other people's highest priority needs are being served. Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?" The true leader is also a seeker--alert to new possibilities, open, listening and ready for whatever develops. True leadership, then, is an inner quality as much as an exercise of authority. The present volume originated as essays and talks treating servant leadership as a general principle and the way it has been lived by particular people. Sections of the book deal with leadership in education, in foundations, in churches, in bureaucracies, and with the role of the United States as a world leader. It closes with a spiritual reflection on Robert Frost's poem "Directive". The reflection, in Greenland's words, is "partly an acknowledgment of [Frost's] influence on me and partly a sharing with those who are the search for what I have now come to see as servant leadership, and who, sooner or later and in their own way, come to grips with who they are and where they are on the journey."

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Review: Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness

User Review  - Sandy H - Goodreads

I found Greenleaf's writing style very difficult to wade through--it felt unnecessarily dry and complex for the subject matter. My second biggest issue with it has more to do with the time in which it ... Read full review

Review: Servant Leadership: A Journey Into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness

User Review  - Katherine Collins - Goodreads

Row upon row of airport-bookstore management books cannot hold a candle to this, in my opinion. Greenleaf's book is now about 30 years old, but in it you see a depth and rootedness that most writing ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

Robert K. Greenleaf was the creator of the modern trend to empower employees; he also coined the term servant-leadership. He was a top executive in management research, development, and education and AT&T, as well as a visiting lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School. He also taught at Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia. Upon his retirement from AT&T, he founded the Center for Applied Ethics, which eventually became the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, located in Indianapolis. Greenleaf died in 1990 at the age of 86.

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