Friday, May 3, 2013


While the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that Greenleaf first published in 1970, and we mean to take nothing from him, we at SLI acknowledge that the concept of Servant Leadership was best exemplified 2000 years ago in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The things that make Servant Leadership “work,” the elements that drive its success in interpersonal relationships on a small scale and in large corporate settings, are the Truths that He professed about the Kingdom of God and God’s plan for His people.

These Truths remain true whether the relationships are among Christians or people of other faiths or no faith. As quoted on his site, Greenleaf said, in his book The Institution as Servant, “This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built.”

At the heart of it, Servant Leadership is relational, and the concept of putting the needs of others first is radical, even for Christians.
“Making disciples is not an easy process. It is trying. It is messy. It is slow, tedious,even painful at times. It is all these things because it is relational. Jesus has not given us an effortless step-by-step formula for impacting nations for his glory. He has given us people, and he has said, ‘Live for them. Love them, serve them, and lead them. Lead them to follow me, and lead them to lead others to follow me. In the process you will multiply the gospel to the ends of the earth.’”
David Platt, Radical (Multnomah Books, Colorado Springs, 2012), p. 93.

Other scholars and speakers have weighed in on the value of Servant Leadership in both personal and corporate contexts (the following may be found quoted at the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Web site:
“The belief that called you to be a servant-leader, I believe, is the belief of who we are as a species. We have need for each other. We have a desire for each other, and, more and more, I believe that if the real work is to stay together, then we are not only the best resource to move into this future—we are the only resource….We need to learn how to be together: that is the essential work of the servant-leader.” ~ Margaret Wheatley
“The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people—each one of us—to rise above our present circumstances and to transcend our nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation.”~Stephen Covey
As you reconnect with that deepest part of your nature that urges upon you relationship, fellowship, connection and interdependence, may you find that new motivation to serve others, transcend your circumstances, and thereby discover the meaning and power of true leadership.

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