What is a servant-leader?

Agile leadership is often explained in terms of the servant-leader model.

The term servant-leader was introduced by Robert Greenfield.* 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 are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer more autonomous, more likely to themselves become servants?”

If the aim of Agile leadership is to liberate & empower the natural creativity and productivity of disciplined, skilled professionals, then servant-leadership seems like a good model for Iteration Leads.

According to Larry Spears,** the 10 characteristics of servant-leaders are:

  1. Listening.
  2. Empathy.
  3. Healing.
  4. Awareness.
  5. Persuasion.
  6. Conceptualisation.
  7. Foresight.
  8. Stewardship.
  9. Commitment to the growth of others.
  10. Building community.

An Iteration Lead, in fact.

*   R.K. Greenfield (1970). ‘The servant as leader’.

**  L. Spears (2010). ‘Character and servant leadership: Ten characteristics of effective, caring leaders’.

By |2018-01-18T13:00:14+00:00Sunday, January 17 2016|Categories: All, Empowerment, Leadership, Management systems, Organisation, Principles, Professionalism, Skills|0 Comments

About the Author:

Chief Architect, Agile201.com.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Want to do more than just build systems?             
error: Agile201 is wholly copyright and copy-protected.