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Über dieses Buch

Building on the original writings of Robert K. Greenleaf, this edited collection provides new insights into servant leadership theory and broadens the conceptual framework with a developmental perspective on modern organisations. Bringing together a group of active servant leadership researchers and practitioners from around the world, this book applies Greenleaf’s original ideas to current challenges within today’s businesses. The authors explore theoretical topics such as purposefulness, compassion, personal growth and mindfulness, as well as providing practical models for implementing a servant leadership culture within organisations, with a particular focus on public administration and the health care industry.



1. Introduction

Servant leadership is a field that is now coming full circle. It took about 25 years, until the end of the last century, that a start was made with more academic interest into servant leadership. Currently, attention is returning to servant leadership development within the broader context of organizational development. The conceptual models that have been formulated the last decade or so provide building blocks for a research-based organizational practice grounded in the original thinking of Robert Greenleaf. This chapter gives a short overview of the other chapters that together show how working from the original writings of Greenleaf, a quick progression is made in linking theoretical development and academic research to practical frameworks to better deal with a changing world.
Dirk van Dierendonck, Kathleen Patterson

Erratum to: Mindfulness as a Building Block for Servant Leadership

Without Abstract
Armin Pircher Verdorfer, Johannes Arendt

Positioning Servant Leadership


2. Wisdom as a Pillar for Servant Leadership

This chapter describes how Robert K. Greenleaf’s accumulated wisdom from multiple disciplines and extraordinary people prepared him to write his servant series of essays. The chapter defines wisdom, contrasts it with mere knowledge, and outlines Greenleaf’s four steps to acquiring wisdom: Experience, Reflection, Insight, and Action. Each is illustrated by writings from Greenleaf and others. All four are demonstrated in the story of “The Heroine’s Journey” traveled by a remarkable woman who sought wisdom and then created servant-leader communities and a nonprofit foundation. Finally, three examples of core servant-leader capacities—listening, foresight, and persuasion—demonstrate how Greenleaf used a lifetime of wisdom-building to bring fresh understanding to skills that most people thought they already understood.
Don M. Frick

3. Leader Purposefulness and Servant Leadership

This chapter provides an overview and exploration of leader purposefulness, arguing that purpose and meaning serve as foundational concepts within servant leadership research and practice. Based on the work of Robert K. Greenleaf, and servant leadership’s emphasis on follower focus and service of followers, Irving presents a case for leader purposefulness’ capacity to empower transcendence of self-interest—a requisite for servant leaders committed to the practice of serving organizational members. After establishing a case for the priority of purpose from both the servant leadership literature and the wider leadership literature, including spiritual leadership and authentic leadership, the chapter provides recommendations for leadership practitioners and researchers interested in the implications of leader purposefulness.
Justin A. Irving

4. Maintaining Your Stance: History Reveals the Cost to Servant-Leaders

What can we learn from an analysis of the life journey of historical servant-leaders? Those who aspire to this leadership philosophy embrace the belief that their goal is to build a caring, collaborative, and just society (Greenleaf, The servant as leader. The Robert K. Greenleaf Center 1991/1970) that provides the opportunity for all to develop to the best of their potential. Simply, the nature of such positive and powerful aspirations will be challenged by a variety of obstacles during a lifetime. The chapter will present readers with stories of five recognized servant-leaders from the past. Today’s aspiring servant-leaders can appreciate the triumphs and costs and courage exemplified by these earlier men and women, and hopefully, are encouraged to maintain their own stance now and in the future.
Carolyn Crippen

Becoming the Servant Leader


5. The Motivation to Serve as a Corner Stone of Servant Leadership

What motivates a leader to serve? What motivates them to seek the growth and development of others? Graham (Bus Ethics Q 5:43–54, 1995) suggests that servant leaders are at the post-conventional moral stage, and therefore exhibit moral behaviors that incorporate consideration of others. Sun (Leadersh Q 24:544–557, 2013) extends this perspective by suggesting that servant leaders incorporate a well-defined servant identity. This chapter seeks to examine the motivational foundation for servant behaviors by incorporating these ego, moral, identity, and cognitive perspectives. The chapter also challenges our assumption of self-sacrificing altruism, and examines the possibility that leaders can exhibit servant behaviors from a self-serving angle, and such paradoxical co-existence is in fact beneficial for both leaders and their followers.
Peter Sun

6. Self-Reflection and Wonder as Keys to Personal Growth and Servant Leadership

This chapter explains the importance of personal growth for a serving leader. Personal growth is a process, a spiral of continual investigation, within which the deeper meaning of personal themes can be constantly understood. This search gives strength, self-awareness and the feeling of being really autonomous and authentic. Two main keys for increasing self-knowledge are the ability to self-reflect and the ability to wonder. Self-reflection is increased by analysing internal and external signals and teaches the leader to take ownership for his own behaviour. Wondering mobilizes curiosity, strengthens empathy and increases openness to gaining new experiences and entering into relations. Making time for personal growth is an important precondition.
Johan van ‘T Zet

7. Mindfulness as a Building Block for Servant Leadership

Mindfulness describes the capacity of nonelaborative, nonjudgmental attention and awareness oriented to the present moment. So far, a great deal of research has been expended showing that dispositional mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions represent efficient routes to psychological functioning. There is sound evidence that mindfulness enables individuals to view events and experiences more objectively and to regulate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors more effectively. Against this background, this chapter describes how mindfulness can be connected to servant leadership and, even more practically relevant, to servant leadership development.
Armin Pircher Verdorfer, Johannes Arendt

Building a Servant Leadership Culture


8. Practising Compassionate Leadership and Building Spirals of Inspiration in Business and in Public Sector

In this chapter, Hakanen and Pessi discuss servant leadership from the perspectives of compassion and compassionate leadership in organizations. The chapter introduces the core features of servant leadership and how in the roles of a leader and a servant, managers can demonstrate and practise compassion. In the chapter, three Finnish research and intervention projects both in private and public sectors focusing on compassion and servant leadership are introduced and their main lessons are discussed. Compassionate servant leadership is suggested to be one key driver for positive employee and organizational outcomes, such as well-being and engagement, commitment and job performance.
Jari J. Hakanen, Anne Birgitta Pessi

9. A Conceptual Framework to Operationalise Servant Leadership Within an Organization

A framework to operationalise servant leadership is introduced in this chapter. It describes three dimensions of servant leadership, namely the heart, the head, and the hands of a servant leader. The four functions of a servant leader are presented in addition, which are clustered into strategic servant leadership and operational servant leadership, and four analogies are used to simplify the objectives of each function. The framework furthermore defines the characteristics and competencies in support of each function and includes a talent wheel to develop servant leaders within organisations. The chapter concludes with a standard implementation procedure to apply this framework effectively within any organisation.
Michiel Frederick Coetzer

10. Building a People-Oriented and Servant-Led Organization

The model introduced in this chapter aims to combine servant-leadership theory with human resource (HR) practices. It can be placed within the current wave of change in HR that requires HR professionals to really understand their business context and their key stakeholders. HR practices need to be organized around people and need to be an integral part of line management. Within this context, and addressing the clear practical needs of organizations, this chapter links servant leadership to key organizational challenges, placing the individual within the organizational setting and the societal context.
Dirk van Dierendonck

11. Building Teal Organizations with Servant Leadership?

Vibrant as servant leadership is, it is important to assess how well it is keeping up with the latest organizational developments. In the chapter Frederic Laloux’s recent model of organizational development is used to evaluate where servant leadership stands. By comparing the characteristics of servant leadership to the breakthroughs of different organizational paradigms (Orange, Green, and Teal), an attempt is made to position servant leadership in Laloux’s model and examine whether it has any affinities with the emerging Teal paradigm.
Robert Jack

Towards a Servant Leadership Society


12. The Servant Leadership Pin: Bursting the Generational Bubble

Millennials have garnered a lot of attention, and deservedly so with their perceived entitlement mentality and narcissistic tendencies. Their reputation has followed this generation into academia and the workplace where they now dominate. The reality of a multi-generational workforce has highlighted the need for understanding the Millennial mindset, thus this chapter proposes that hope resides with the Millennials and subsequent Gen Z as the servant leaders of tomorrow, if not today. This generation is inclined to seek purpose-filled lives, seek a greater good, and pursue the impossible as a higher achievement. If organizational leaders and academia can both lead as servants and also inspire servant leadership in this generation, the potential is unlimited for a society that promotes servant leadership and fosters the serving of others.
Jane Waddell, Kathleen Patterson

13. Incorporating Organizational Ambidexterity in the Public Sector Through Servant Leadership

This chapter aims to contribute toward a better understanding of servant leadership in a public administration context. We explore how servant leadership can contribute toward greater organizational ambidexterity, allowing public institutions to simultaneously achieve bureaucratic efficiency and increased innovation in response to an unprecedented changing environment. This coincides with Robert Greenleaf’s original appeal for servant responsibility in an ever-increasing bureaucratic society, such as to safeguard the institutions’ first and foremost obligation to serve, and ultimately their long-term viability.
Miguel Martinez de Castro Pinto Luz, Milton Sousa

14. Improving Health Care Organizations Through Servant Leadership

Health care managers are often absent from organizational developments in practice despite evidence on the foundational role of first line management to facilitate changes. This chapter presents contributions to servant leadership and a model for developing care processes and well-being at work based on findings derived from studies of exceptionally successful managerial work in hospital wards. Key elements in the servant leadership approach was anchoring in practice and having a sincere follower- and servant focus through continuous involvement and interconnecting values, goals and challenges from different perspectives, and the development and implementation of care processes. The practice servant leader is attentive to psychosocial dynamics and fosters humility and a community of equals. The practice servant leader uses loci of anchoring to involve staff and interconnect management and practice.
Sigrún Gunnarsdóttir, Kasper Edwards, Lotta Dellve


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