What is servant leadership? When this question is asked, the first response that comes to mind is a leadership role in some sort of spiritual capacity. In actuality, this concept can be applied to both professional and spiritual roles of leadership. Robert K. Greenleaf’s theory of servant leadership includes qualities such as listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth and building community (Greenleaf, 2002). Considering this description, when asked if the following statement, "although servant leadership is often associated with the Bible and Jesus Christ, it is totally compatible with most religions and theories of philosophy" can be viewed as true, it indeed can be confirmed for most. As servant leadership is actually a philosophy that emphasizes moral values and suggests leaders obtain desired results by focusing on and fulfilling the needs of others it is possible that it is compatible with other religious philosophies, though not all, as well.
The very essence of leadership is finding effective ways to inspire and motivate others. A person’s particular style of leadership is influenced by the core values as well as the assumptions and beliefs of the individual. Effective leaders continuously learn from those around them and evolve their leadership style as needed to deal with diversity and changing situations. Strong leaders typically possess a combination of positive characteristics and moral values that form and define their leadership philosophy. Servant leadership emphasizes such skills as awareness, stewardship, persuasion, growth and building community. These skills are also important elements of most religious philosophies but specifically for the Christian and Unitarian Universalist philosophies.
One Christian philosophy of leadership presented by David M. Turner, is that the characteristics of the leader should be in harmony with qualities described in
References: Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Essentials of servant leadership. In L. C. Spears, M. Lawrence, & K. Blanchard (Eds.), Focus on leadership: Servant-leadership for the 21st century.. Oke, R. (Ed.). Management and organizational behavior (2011). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Custom Learning Solutions. Serrat, O. (2009, June). Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence. Knowledge Solutions, 49, 1-9. Spears, L. (2004, Fall). Practicing Servant-Leadership. Leader to Leader, 34, 7-11. Wallace, J.R. (2007). Servant Leadership: A Worldview Perspective. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 2(2), 114-132.