Monday, 10 August 2015

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

I just finished reading  the 25th Anniversary Edition of this book(368 pages) by Robert K.Greenleaf , with a Foreword by Stephen R. Covey and Afterword by Peter M. Senge.Servant Leadership is difficult to be established as a scientific theory.It is reasonable to see it as an emerging leadership philosophy.
                    In fact,the book is  a collection of 12  essays  written by Greenleaf in sixties and early seventies  about  Servant Leadership  .The book was originally published in 1978.The core of servant leadership is  moral authority.The essence of moral authority is  subordinating one's ego to a higher purpose.It also implies that means as well as ends must be good.
                    The idea of the servant as leader came out of reading  Herman Hesse's Journey to the East.The servant  Leo in this book is a servant leader.MacMurphy ,the tough ,gutter-bred patient  in   One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kessy , is another example of servant leader.The best test of servant leader is what needs of other persons are being served by him.Do those served grow as persons?Do they  become healthier,wiser ,freer,more autonomous,more likely themselves to become servants?Do the less privileged in society benefit or at least not be further  deprived?(page 27)
                  Our educational structure devotes very little care to nurturing leaders.Greenleaf says that the goal of education should be to prepare students to serve and be served by the present society.
                           Also ,one needs a lifestyle that keeps one in touch with"the unsearchable and secret aims of nature(page 312).Make a motto on your wall;"Lord,grant that I may seek not so much to be understood as to understand"(Prayer of Saint Francis)
 The last chapter entitled An Inward journey is devoted to explain the  profound meaning of the poem  Directive by Robert Frost."Directive offers a promise to those who do aspire:When we have gone back out of all this now too much for us,when we are lost enough to find ourselves and have pulled in our ladder road behind us ,then we shall have the opportunity to drink of the waters of wholeness"(Page 338).This is a hopeful hypothesis at a time when hope is dim.
                         Servant leaders are those who care for both persons and institutions , and who are determined to make their caring count.
                      Though somewhat repetitive, this book is  full of  a new way of looking at leaders and leadership .I recommend you to read it .
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