Thursday, April 3, 2008

If You Combined Followership and Leadership, What Would You Get?

Servant Leadership. When it comes to client service, the term combines many of the strongest attributes of great followership and leadership, and its principles read as a wish list for achieving client service excellence.

"Servant Leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay he first published in 1970. In that essay, he wrote:

"The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."

On a Butler University web site, you'll find a review of 10 Characteristics that Larry Spears, former CEO of The Greenleaf Center identified as being critical to the development of servant-leaders. They include:
  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Healing
  4. Awareness
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Stewardship
  9. Commitment to the Growth of People
  10. Building Community
Though somewhat self explanatory, I would encourage you to visit the Butler University site to read the brief descriptions for each term. So what do you think? Do these characteristics square with your values when it comes to client service? What would you add to the list?


  1. I would add . . . commmitment to sustainable global economic growth.

  2. Thanks Boyd. It would seem that sustainability on many fronts is certainly in order. Great addition to the list!



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