Free Essay - Robert Greenleaf

Published: 2023-04-23
Free Essay - Robert Greenleaf
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Human resources Personal leadership Leadership development
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1214 words
11 min read

Robert Greenleaf gave birth to the principles of servant leadership, which are used today to address challenges in many businesses and organizations around the world. These principles incorporate interesting perspectives that involve a new twist in decision-making; they have also based on caring and ethical behavior as well as the growth of workers in improving the quality of organizational or business life. In the current world, the only authority that deserves allegiance is that of a leader. Instead of focusing on transactional or transformational types, servant leadership is essential because it takes into consideration the needs of employees and followers. In this paper, I will summarize Robert Greenleaf's principles of leadership and demonstrate why these qualities are important to me personally.

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Before I begin to describe and summarize the principles of servant leadership, I will explore Robert Greenleaf's literature on servant leadership. He starts by explaining that to be a servant leader, one needs to be ready to serve others (Spears, 2010). In this case, an individual starts to be a servant to him/herself. In most leadership styles, a leader influences other people to follow him or her willingly. As with Greenleaf, he agrees that a leader has the capacity to influence people follow him or her, but it takes a servant leader to be responsible for his or her followers given that all people are not always on the level ground. Greenleaf adds that both the leader and the followers grow and improve; they become wiser, healthier, and more autonomous (Greenleaf, n.d). Even though there is no correlation to political or religious leaders, Greenleaf's concept on servant leadership can cause a major influence in today's society.

There are ten principles of a servant leader that are of significance to today's changing world. From the literature, what stood out are the characteristics, which will be discussed below. Greenleaf heightened that people who are served grow and become superior like the servant leader. Some of the characteristics of a servant leader are discussed below;

Listening is the first principle of a servant leader (Spears, 2010). Greenleaf asserts that servant leaders should listen to their followers and respond to their claims, complains, or choices. Greenleaf says that servant leaders are valued because of their communication and listening skills. They therefore, need to commit themselves to listening to their followers and also identify the will of their followers and make clarifications. A servant leader always listens to what is being said including listening to the own inner voice. This is essential for the well-being and growth of both the leader and the followers.

The other principle is empathy; a servant leader tries to understand and show empathy to the followers (Spears, 2010). People whether within the business, organization or elsewhere need to be accepted and recognized with their unique and special qualities. A servant leader does not reject the performance of certain followers even if they do not meet the set standards. Instead, they become empathetic with co-workers and employees and motivate them to meet the required performance or standards. Moreover, servant leaders possess an aspect of healing; they believe that everyone takes some time to repair from the losses or injustices they previously experienced (Spears, 2010). Greenleaf argues that healing a powerful force for leaders because it helps them to build and maintain relationships. A servant leader helps followers of employees who have broken their spirits or emotionally to heal and also make whole from situations that they were hurt.

In the same parallel, the principle of awareness strengthens servant leaders (Greenleaf, n.d). When they are aware of different situations as well as the followers, they can understand issues such as values, ethics, and power. They can, therefore, address organizational challenges from a holistic point of view given that they have an inner serenity. Also, the other characteristic of servant leaders is persuasion. They interact with their followers and other people to convince others. Servant leaders do not do use their authority to make decisions, rather they build consensus with other groups to reach an agreement. Conceptualization is also an aspect that distinguishes servant leaders with the rest (Spears, 2010). Servant leaders understand that their thinking must supersede their daily realities. They, therefore, stretch their conceptual thinking to reflect on the aspects such as discipline and operational approach.

Furthermore, the other principle of servant leaders is foresight; they can foresee the outcome of their situations and identify the strategies to counter or address the problem (Spears, 2010). At the same time, foresight helps servant leaders to learn from past lessons and make effective decisions to avoid the same consequences in the future. Greenleaf also asserts that stewardship is an important characteristic that differentiates servant leaders from other leaders (Spears, 2010). Servant leaders hold the trust of their institutions for the greater good of followers and society. With this approach, a leader is concerned about serving the needs of others. At the same time, servant leaders are committed to the growth of other people, particularly their followers. They believe that followers have an intrinsic value in their organization; they, therefore, work towards the growth of all individuals who work in their organization or business.

The last principle of a servant leader according to Greenleaf is the ability to build the community (Greenleaf, n.d). A servant leader is aware that much has been lost in human history because of the shifts from the local communities. They therefore, develop means to build the communities especially around their institutions. Greenleaf proposed that servant leaders are people who build the community and this can be created by the people who are working in institutions or businesses. Every servant leader strives to demonstrate the unlimited liability of forming a community development-related group.

The above-summarized points are important to me personally because of I believe in the Christian faith. To me, servant leadership is similar to Christianity. I am certain that all Christians are called to serve anytime they are called to be leaders. To be a servant leader, one needs to be obedient and ready to serve other people for God to give him or her an assurance of inheriting the kingdom of heaven. A good example from a Christian point of view is that of Jesus particularly when he washed the feet of the disciples. He showed people that it is important to put aside personal interests and make sacrifices to fulfill other's needs. Everything that Jesus demonstrated in his ministry is a reflection of servant leadership.

In conclusion, Greenleaf's principles of servant leadership communicate powerful and promising concepts to those who are ready to change the world. Servant leadership is vital in solving organizational challenges and help others meet their needs. Almost of principles of servant leadership are naturally because they are enhanced through learning and practice. Servant leaders create a world where there is hope, better and more caring institutions.


Greenleaf, R. K. (n.d). Character and Servant-Leadership: Ten Characteristics of Effective, Caring Leaders by Larry C. Spears, President & CEO, the Spears Center www. Spears center. org Reprinted with permission of the author.

Spears, L. C. (2010). Character and servant leadership: Ten Characteristics of Effective, Caring Leaders. The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, 1(1), 25-30.

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