Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Servant Leadership

I've been home most of the past two days sick which has not been fun. Today, however, I did go to work briefly with the primary intent of getting an essay entitled "The Servant as Leader" that I need to have read by tomorrow. I find it fascinating to read about servant leadership as a concept completely apart from Christianity. Robert Greenleaf, the author of this essay, presents a "new concept" of which he says, "I did not get the notion of the servant as leader from conscious logic. Rather it came to me as an intuitive insight as I contemplated Leo." Leo is a character from Herman Hesse's Journey to the East. In the 37 page essay, Jesus is only mentioned once around page 20.

From my perspective, Jesus is the oldest and best example of servant leadership. He embodied in so many ways what it means to be a servant leader. It seems strange to have this concept apart from the greatest example of it. Instead, Greenleaf uses three men in recent history to illustrate his point. John Woolman, an American Quaker, is the man who almost singlehandedly rid the Society of Friends of slaves. Thomas Jefferson who knew who he was and resolved to be his own man and making his own way to his goal by one action at a time, with a lot of frustration along the way. Nikolai Frederik Severin Grundtvig, the Father of the Danish Folk High Schools, "who gave his love for the peasants, his clear vision of what they must do for themselves and his long articulate dedication."

Tomorrow I go to a seminar on Servant Leadership based on the reading of this essay. I'm very much looking forward to hearing the perspective of others on this issue. Not long ago, I was assigned a mentor to answer any questions I may have about servant leadership. He is a manager at JP Morgan Chase and has been slightly helpful to me though not as much as I had hoped. Perhaps tomorrow will shed more light on this topic.

No comments: