Principles of true servant-leadership

Source Material: Effective Servant leadership by Jeanine L. Parolini, Regent University

Servant leadership











It is a contradiction in terms; a servant and a leader, like a fish-bird, or a dog-cat, two opposite definitions in one. However, this is the key to flexible and effective leadership in this modern digital age. The executives of Google dress the same as the staff in jeans and T-shirt, they skateboard around the office, there are no set times to go to work, only targets to finish by. All workers are equal and have an equal say, the leaders rule by consent not fear, and the view management as horizontal not vertically above their workers. Google is the most profitable company in the world, bagging $11bn after tax profits, and they are the drivers of innovation through their Android software. Understanding servant leadership is important in changing our definitions and requirements of leaders so we can get better leadership. Our model of a leader is based on a lion, hence we lionise our leaders, but the lion is a poor analogy of leadership. The lion is strong, majestic, king of the beasts, predestined by nature to rule. However, a lion is lazy, the lionesses do all the hunting and the males just come and bully them off. A lion is programmed to prey on the weakest animals, and perhaps that is apt in that case. So one must be a fish-bird; impossible? There was a fish which swam fast, fast than any fish in the sea, but it was still getting caught and eaten, so it decided to fly, it became a flying-fish.

flying fish








Defining Servant Leadership

Greenleaf (1977) defined a servant leader as servant first in his statement:
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.

It begins with a need a need to serve, not a need to lead, but a need to serve. You can hear a person say “When I was in primary I was number 1, secondary – number 1, university – number 1, if I did anything I’d be number one!!” that is not a servant leader. You cannot start with goals and targets because you will ignore the needs of people to achieve those targets. A leader will merely pass the problem from department to department without solving anything. Our African cultures do not respect servants, and they are seen as cursed by God to a lifetime of misery. There are up to 10 people who wanted that low-paying job so you can abuse your authority and still get some other poor person to replace them. An African leader sometimes views power as a personal possession, to be used magnanimously towards those who supplicate themselves to him/her but often Him. The servant is the opposite of a leader, and a leader is the opposite of a servant, managing these competing roles is the key to understanding Servant-Leadership. However, one must be a servant first above all things, willing to serve in any capacity, no matter how small. During the RPF struggle, Rwandans were happy to serve in any capacity, they understood they all had a role to play; be it a cook, porter, cadre, medic, OC morale, or frontline fighter. They all knew their roles were important, and relied on each other.

Umuhutu w’umwami

In Rwanda we do have a perfect example of Servant-leadership from the King’s court. The King’s Servant was the 2nd most powerful man in the country; part man-servant, prime-minister, head of protocol, his mouthpiece, his best-friend because he spent 24hrs with the king. The Servant was from a low-caste but was more feared and respected than royals, he controlled access to the king, he dealt with matters of state and had a network of spies around the country. His word was the word of the King, a slight glance from him could get you killed, but he walked in absolute humility. He knew the real power he had but never showed it, that even added to his power, everyone in the room was scared of him but he acted coy and subservient to them. That is the key to servant-leadership, it is not weak leadership, it is strong leadership, you have to soften your appearance to be more approachable. Being secure within yourself that you don’t project that lion persona, where children can approach you without fear. To be a servant first, that servant of the king did menial work and also negotiated state treaties, it kept his ego in check and made him the perfect servant-leader.

Figure – 1: Parolini’s model for effective servant leadership using Page and Wong’s conceptual framework for measuring servant leadership

Core values
• Integrity
• Humility
• Willingness to serve
Core principles
• Caring for others
• Developing others
• Empowering others
Tools and mechanisms
• Visioning
• Goal-setting
• Leading
• Modelling
• Team-building
• Shared decision-making
• Openness

Integrity – in Kinyarwanda is known as “Inyangamugayo” those who despise dishonour, it is typical Rwandan modesty to say that. If they said “those who are more honourable” would have been bragging and arrogance, so they simply said “we hate dishonour.” Shame was and is a very powerful reflex in Rwanda, more so than guilt, dishonour hurts because it is public shaming, loss of status. The problem is where this external shame meets a corrupted soul that portrays outward honour. This is why integrity must be on to oneself, not fear of public humiliation if you get caught. In the old days honour was so important that people would commit suicide when had no honour left. Integrity is hard to define, but here are some.










Integrity is defined as

• The firm adherence to a code of moral values, which results in incorruptibility, soundness, and completeness in terms of being undivided (Merriam-Webster, 2004).
Integrity is not in-born, it is taught and you have to adhere to it, once one stops to adhere to the code of moral values then they become corruptible. The test is when goals conflict with the moral code, you can achieve your goal by breaking your moral code, what do you do? That is why integrity is in the core set of values, alongside, humility and willingness to serve. These core values can never be broken because they are linked. If you have integrity but no humility then you’ll become egotistical and not serve, if you have humility but not integrity then others will take advantage of you. If you don’t have willingness to serve you’ll be late to work or miss it entirely. Integrity is how one judges themselves according to standards set by socialisation. Integrity can be taught to children, but children soon learn that their guardians don’t live what they preach so they compromise. Authority in Servant-leadership depends entirely on the Integrity of the person, Moses gave the Israelites a False god because it was what his people wanted but he offended his integrity with God so he resigned. Integrity is not what others say of you, it is the standards you set yourself and judge yourself according too, even thieves have their own understanding of integrity.

• Honesty, which according to Merriam-Webster is the synonym of integrity, implies a refusal to lie, steal, or deceive and results in fairness and straightforwardness of action, sincerity, and adherence to the facts.
All human beings lie in some way, sometime to protect the feelings of others, to protect ourselves, to keep secrets. There is an experiment with children who are left with a plate full of chocolates in a room with cameras. They are told not to touch the chocolates but if they obey they will be given double. All the children ate the chocolate, it was just a matter of whether they lied about it. 3 year olds were honest, by 4 years old almost all lied and very well indeed. If it wasn’t for the camera showing them eating the chocolate we would have believed them. So true people with integrity don’t just avoid telling lies, they avoid being in a situation where they would have to lie. Integrity requires foresight, to foresee a situation that would potentially compromise your integrity. Promises you can’t keep, make you lie to cover up, which makes people judge your character.

• Integrity incorporates aspects of ethics, values, morals, honesty, and trust (Russell & Stone, 2002). Becker (1998) distinguishes between moral integrity over personal integrity in that moral individuals are committed to a rational and objective set of principles that support the greater good over personal subjectivism. He suggests society without moral values and principles could be subject to a twisted form of integrity based upon personal subjectivism where leaders have integrity to a set of principles that are out for their own interests and potentially harmful to others, such as in the case of Adolph Hitler.




So we have conflicting interests at times between; what is ethical, what is valued, what is moral, what is true and preserving trust. One must have a rational and objective set of principles that support the greater good. Leadership is navigating the harmony of individual needs and collective needs, collective needs are made out of individual needs but the individual needs clash. There is always a reason to make an exception but one must look at the “Greater Good” this means being ready to make unpopular decisions but in a firm but transparent way. One cannot be motivated by the need to be liked, but by the need to serve, sometimes that means being not liked. The followers must know that you hold yourself to a higher standard, if it was you or a member of your family you would do the same. This is when the servant leader shows their strength, in being just another member of society but with a solemn duty to serve.

• Clawson (1999; Patterson, 2003) posits that integrity in effective leadership is based upon the four values of truth-telling, promise-keeping, fairness, and respect for the individual.
This model tries to quantify and qualify integrity into 4 values, indeed, when we look at integrity we know what it isn’t. A liar who never keeps promises, is unfair and has no respect has no integrity. Likewise, we can measure truth-telling, when a close friend lies to you it is a major violation and you always question them after that. It is deadly for a politician to be caught in a lie because of the C-word – Credibility. People will never remember all the truths you told, but they will remember lies, not matter how small. Promise keeping is also important, your word is your bond, broken promises break relationships. Never make a promise you can’t keep, we often make promises to postpone a decision or an action, call me tomorrow, I’ll have it done then they walk and away and we forget. Fairness should be a guiding principle in everything, an old grandmother broke the law, she should go to prison – but is it fair? It may be legal but morally unfair. People with fairness reach decisions consensually through a transparent process that is balance and consistent. Fairness is not based on moods but a set of principle that are unchanging. A study of court records in America by Kahneman found most judges acquitted in the early morning case, convicted most cases before the lunch-break, gave probation in the afternoon, and acquitted the late evening cases. Hunger of the Judge can be the difference between being acquitted and being condemned to death.

• Lewicki and Wiethoff (2000) define trust as an individual’s ability to be consistent in words and actions as well as in the ability to understand and appreciate the wants of others. Integrity is summed up as the leader’s commitment to an objective set of moral values that result in an inward and outward honesty, trustworthiness, and fairness that serves the greater good.

Humility is a display of character that supports leaders in overcoming egotistical tendencies of thought, feeling, and action.

Humility is the only discernible difference between a Servant-leader and a traditional leader, it is what makes a Servant-leader a servant-leader. A king can have integrity and a willingness to serve but make decisions that are egotistical and not in the interests of their people. Likewise, a dictator can have integrity and think he’s serving the true will of his people when he’s not. There is a change of identity when one is promoted from an ordinary worker to a superior, other people’s perception of you rises and their expectations of you rise as well. This leads to a rise in the Ego if you internalise flattery, all people promise to remember when they started at the bottom but they never do. This dislocation leads to changes in ethics, values, fairness, morals and trust. Humility keeps you grounded; it protects your integrity and gives you the ethic to serve. Humility is a weapon, humility is the silk shirt hiding the gun underneath. When one studies far-eastern cultures one see humility at work, the most powerful is also the most humble. Look at 5 Japanese politicians and you can tell the PM because he is bowing the lowest, till his head almost hits his knees. Humility is a weapon to disarm hostility, resolve conflict, reduce class differentiation and having an accepting society. Humility on its own can be seen as weakness, but humility backed by authority, integrity and service is strength.

• Collins (2001b) describes humility as a duality of inward fierceness and outward modesty that when combined, refrain one from letting ego interfere with making the best decisions.
Inward fierceness and outward modesty; keeping you secret weapon up your sleeve and not flashing your power about. In our African cultures we are all about display of power, like peacocks fluttering feathers and it is not good enough to have power, people have to know. Even our animals display their power nakedly and so we do as well, our politician’s roar like lions shaking the trees. Their authority must always be on display, this creates a gap between leaders and the led. Leaders soon cannot remember what it was like to be an ordinary minion. People become case numbers, case numbers become statistics to hit targets to achieve goals. Stay humble; it is so hard to do when people appeal to your ego, to your power, to intervene for them. Once it is you ego making the decisions then you are on a road to failure, internal processes are fallible, none-transparent, inconsistent, corruptible and non-binding.

• Hare (1996) describes humility as a tendency to not over-value one’s self so that the ability to value the worth of others is enabled. According to Sandage and Wiens (2001), humility is the ability to focus on others, from a position of self-acceptance, by keeping one’s abilities in perspective.

A leader always has to deal with their own ego, it can help you advance in life but can also hinder you if it goes out of control. You are not an ordinary person but you have to live and behave as an ordinary person in order to understand what ordinary people need. If you are above them then you cannot understand their needs. The key line in that is “so that the self-worth of others is enabled” if you are focusing on yourself then you cannot focus on others, like looking in the mirror all day stops you from noticing the world around you. When you humble yourself you create space for others to flourish, the best leader is an unseen one where things move smoothly when they aren’t there. The line of “from a position of self-acceptance” and this means accepting your strengths and your weaknesses. The leader is there to lead but also the followers are there to compliment any weaknesses the leader has. A leader doesn’t have to know everything, they just need to know who to trust on the matter and enable them to do it. Your strength is in your integrity, humility and willingness to serve, not in your database of knowledge. You will make mistakes but as long as no one doubts your integrity, humility and service, then you can keep your job forever. Knowing the limits of your abilities is more important than what you know, it also leads you to develop a team around you to compensate for your weaknesses.

• Humility within the leader counteracts and limits the negative effects of too much self-interest (Patterson, 2003).

Humility enables the leader to truly serve others without too much self-interest.
“Le’Mudugudu cest moi.” The head of my neighbourhood committee knocked on the gate, he didn’t quite like the colour my house was painted in, change it, he said!! I understood that he was on a drive to spruce up the neighbourhood but I didn’t own the house, the landlord had just painted it and wouldn’t waste another round of paint for aesthetics. This is what happens when leaders with good intentions decide to impose their will on people against their will. Good intentions have to be reciprocated by those you lead, they might agree with you but not see it as a priority, or they might disapprove of the methods used. There is an African saying “If you want to go fast then walk alone, if you want to go farther then walk together.”


Servant leaders are motivated to serve first then lead (Greenleaf, 1977).

Like a football captain is committed to playing for the team first because if he doesn’t play then he won’t captain the team, if he is injured or off-form then he’s no longer captain. The captain has their position they play, right-back or something, they have to watch their opposite player as well as make sure their team is coordinated and playing together. Most World Cup winning teams are not captained by the star-player, they often have a silent leader who is vocal behind the scenes, this player often works harder than any other player therefore can demand sacrifices of their team. So Servant-leaders must always have that servant-mentality and a need to serve. A servant serves for a salary first then grows to like their boss as they spend more time together, in this case the boss is the public. You start with a desire to serve, you have humility and integrity and you are on the way. In our cultures, the servants serve the leaders, not vice versa. To get leaders to think about service when they entered to get money and recognition is really hard. That is why true servant-leadership starts with the selection of leaders. The criteria are the integrity, need to serve and humility above organisational skills because it creates a framework to work in. A person with humility can learn, a person with integrity can remember and a need to serve will keep you committed. Julius Nyerere had total power but was never called a dictator because he used power to serve the people, his mistakes were forgiven because he meant good and never gained personally from his power. “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – JFK. It begins with removing the dominance of the ego, putting others first, and their happiness before yours. It requires sacrificing your ego, your goals, vision, time, resources for the Greater Good. Corruption begins when the needs of the ego are seen as the needs of society so they won’t mind if I break the law.

• Block (1993) posits servant leaders choose service over self interest.
A true leader is ready to serve in any capacity, when Winston Churchill lost the election in 1946, just one year after winning WWII, he returned to being a regular MP. This showed a willingness to serve but it was also shrewd on his part, he knew he would have more influence inside parliament than shouting from the steps. Too many leaders would rather get sacked than be demoted, they would rather lose all their power than just some of it. As long as you are in you can have influence, going out only diminishes your influence, see the long term picture. When you enter an organisation, enter to serve, even when you are promoted, remember you are just serving by leading and leading by serving. A general who eats as his men gains their respect, Napoleon used to eat half-rotten rations like his soldiers and complained “If I have to eat this shit, then so do you.” He could have ordered Brie with bread and wine, a fat goose, chocolate gateaux but he ate rotten food like the rest.

• Winston (2003) suggests the desire to serve is motivated by a focus on serving as compared to a sense of servitude or requirement.
Service is rewarding, performing a function in society gives you a sense of purpose and well-being. You feel validated when people thank you, that validation is what most people seek but it is dangerous. When people thank you everyday just for doing your job then you can start to think you are doing them a favour. It is their right to have those services and they thank you out of courtesy not acknowledging your superiority. The best answer is “it’s just my job.” Indeed, you are paid to do it. Does a postman need to be celebrated every time he posts mail? In Africa, we always expect the worst so we are pleasantly surprised when people actually do the job they are paid for. The reward is the act of serving, not the gratitude and validation. Corruption begins when people give an after-bribe as a “thank you” then the worker demands it before not after.


• Page and Wong’s (2000) servant leadership self-assessment describes the contentment, enjoyment, willingness, personal sacrifice, fortitude, and fairness that servant leaders experience as they act in service toward others, and because of this, servant leaders inspire others to serve.


The ethos of Servant-leadership is to get others to serve, to set an example of model behaviour that becomes a standard for others. A hierarchical leader can use fear to get you to work, fear of getting sacked, fear of losing out on a promotion, fear of loss of earnings. We tried the Fear tactic for centuries and it only got us so far, we had to try something else, being nice. Few had tried this tactic, it was thought that fear was the only way to motivate people, scientists have found that positive factors motivate better than fear. When someone thinks they are mutually benefiting in a relationship, they work harder and better than when motivated by fear. The objective is to get more out of your workers; more teamwork, more efficiency, more capacity, and more productivity. All these can be measured in metrics with empirical data. Measure servant-leadership in those categories and you see a clear upswing in performance. It is not to be liked, it is to get more out of your followers.

• If the leader’s choice and desire is left out of the definition of servant leadership then the underlying motives of a servant leader could be misinterpreted as weak or subservient. Choi and Mai-Dalton (1998) propose that followers respond to a leader’s sacrifice and service in reciprocal ways.
Your followers must know you made a conscious choice to be nice, every now and again you remind them that you are boss. Having clearly laid out principles, an open decision-making process, shared responsibility and no personal bias, then the group will accept your authority. You must know people’s opinions at all times, they should also know that you know. The final responsibility rests with you, you include people in the process, get feedback but if it backfires then you take full responsibility. A servant-leader accepts responsibility for things going wrong, even if it was a joint decision, they approved the final decision and could have blocked it. Humility allows you to take the blame when times go wrong and the credit when they are going right. Remember, you do not stand on your record but on your character and principles. Your record can go from A++ to D- but as long as your integrity, humility and service is not in question then you are unsackable, and you wouldn’t let your grades slip that much.


There are core values like integrity, humility and service, and then there are the tools that help you reach your goals. These are actions, things you do, the others are things you believe in. Core values without action is being a Pharisee, believing in love but not loving. The first of these tools is care.


Care is not what you speak, it is what you do, it is the manifestation of your values. Any man can claim integrity, can claim to be humble, can claim to want to serve but until you see actions it is pointless. Care is not an abstract concept but a set of functions you perform.
Servant leaders care for others in that they are listeners, understanding, accepting, and empathic (Greenleaf,1977).
• Greenleaf posits that leaders naturally serve in making listening an automatic response to people and problems. Listening helps leaders get to a significant place of understanding.
The number one tool in communication is listening, before you respond you must have heard what was said. A deaf man cannot hold a conversation if he doesn’t know what is being said. Listening is a skill, you can extend your attention span to listen longer and more patiently. You mentally note everything they say with care, making signs that you are listening and engaging. The “Uhhuh, Uhhuh, hmmmmm, Okay!” responses are very important in conveying connection and empathy. Transparency in an organisation means open flows of information within a tight secretive group, consultation is important in every step to make the decision shared and better implemented. When you listen, repeat what the person said to confirm their opinion and that you have listened. Once you have listened and confirmed their opinion then you understand them. When you say you had bad customer care then 4 things have gone wrong. You were listened to, they didn’t understand, they didn’t accept what you had to say and showed no empathy towards your situation. Often just empathising with a customer is enough to calm them down.


• Accept what the follower brings to the relationship while sometimes refusing to accept some of the follower’s effort or performance as good enough.
Never ask more than people can give, if the task exceeds their skills then they will fail, and that would be your fault. The leader takes final responsibility for any failure, they protect their workers from the storm from above, the credit goes to the workers and the blame goes to the leader to take it on their shoulders. Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team is the first step towards improving them, people need encouragement and guidance. Always let people know you accept them as they are but want to improve them. You need a lot of empathy if you are going to tell people the harsh truth about a need to improve.

• Empathy on the part of the leader toward the follower can help the follower to feel cared about even in the midst of confronting issues of effort or performance. A study by Kellett, Humphrey, and Sleeth (2002) suggests that empathy, as one of several emotional abilities, is linked with perceived effective leadership.


Empathy is the glue that binds the servant-leader to their group, they are one of the team, not a separate part. They understand the needs and requirements of their staff as well as the bosses, and customers. Anything you say is out of love. There is a saying “Before you utter a word, ask first. Is it True, is it kind, or is it necessary?” Not every truth should be uttered because it might be unkind, if it is unkind then it has to be absolutely necessary to say at that moment. Empathy allows friends to criticise you without harsh feelings, it allows leaders to make harsh decisions without followers taking it the wrong way.




This is the key to improving the workforce, to empower people to make decisions that can free you to do other things that are more productive. You empower others not to weaken yourself but to strengthen you position, power flows both ways, from the follower and from the leader to each other. You lead by consent, otherwise an organisation can make it impossible for you to lead. The paradox is; the more you empower people, the less they need you. The job of a parent is to raise a child so well that they grown up to make their own decisions and you are no longer needed. Likewise, a Servant-leader has to nurture talent that can surpass them, they don’t mind a young pretender because their ego is not threatened by the young buck. Servant-leaders see creating a network of people as key to success, people come before targets.

• Buchen (1998) describes the reciprocity of power that takes place in the servant leader’s most important mission of empowering others.

A leader cannot be at all places as all times, one needs systems in place to handle what happens when you are not there. Empowering others empowers you. The problem with the old model of leadership is the power flows one way, from top to bottom. This means that people never recognise authority until they need a service, the service-provider then withholds this service as a means of getting money. When the power flows both ways it is multiplied by the legitimacy conferred by the followers. After providing care several times to the same person, one has to empower them to care for themselves.

• Winston (2003) suggests servant leaders empower through providing the follower with authority, accountability, responsibility, and resources, as well as power, to achieve what the follower wants in relation to the vision.


A leader controls resources, has control of information flows, controls manpower, and hold people accountable. In exchange, they get authority and are accountable for decisions. The follower gives up their authority to the leader, the leader collects all the authority from people they lead and become stronger the more people they lead and how deep the bond of leadership extends. Once a leader loses confidence of their followers they can either lead by fear, or resign to get that confidence back.

• Melrose (1995) elaborates on empowerment by explaining that it sets clear expectations, goals, and responsibilities while allowing followers to self-direct and fail.

The key to empowerment is not just claiming so, it requires an honest appraisal of the situation, have clear and realistic expectations, achievable goals, and clearly laid out responsibilities for each actor in the situation. If something goes wrong it is either the system or an actor in the system, always take final responsibility but empower others to act on your behalf.

• Servant leaders empower by encouraging followers to do their own thinking and not be overtaken by appealing to power or position, which actually increases the potential for moral reasoning within the organization (Graham, 1995).


A major problem that foreign companies investing in Africa have is that the workforce is not flexible, skills are not transferable to the labour market that is too dynamic to keep up with aged courses. Our education systems never teach people to think independently, to question a teacher is to question authority. How else will we learn? We are taught to cram, to memorise and not to understand. So you reach the real world and your skills are not applicable, after 4 years of University you need another 2 years just to be relevant. The boss’ ideas are always right, his jokes are always funny no matter how dull, people appeal to power more than reason. A servant leader wants people who challenge their perceived way of thinking, who can bring new ideas and innovation. So many bad ideas get implemented because the boss likes it, a boss without humility will take criticism of their ideas by a subordinate as treasonous. A leader focuses on integrity, humility and service because goals come and go, visions come and go, and teams change all the time. What is left should be integrity, humility and service. To get too attached to a goal is bad, Japanese Directors jump off buildings when their company makes a loss, hoping their suicide is accepted as a resignation and a restoration of honour.

• In a case study, Winston found some correlation between empowerment and followers’ perception of being respected.


When employees are asked what they really want, it is often not money, it is respect. Respect of their bosses, fellow workers, customers and general public. They respect a person they feel accountable to, who sets clear goals, has empathy and a realistic approach. Empowerment is the key to development, developing the people around you to make them more productive.




Servant-leadership does not produce instant results in productivity, but human relations are smoothed over. Many attempts at Servant-leadership failed because we want instant results, we mix the old model with the new and it fails. It is like the Real Madrid vs Barcelona model; to buy talent or develop it. Real Madrid can go and spend $500m and get in a new team, and sell loads of T-shirts to make up for it. Barcelona prefer to get youngsters and develop them over 10 years, building a team from the base but also buying in good players. In Africa, where the talent pool is limited, you cannot go and hire any person you want, ready-made workers are at a premium. So you have to develop talent, convert skills, motivate people, mould successors in every capacity. Even when criticizing staff, one must remember the long-term effects of a short scolding. You build people like houses, foundational skills like communication, to more complex skills like analysis. The problem is we try to fit goals to people, we start with a vision or a goal, then try to make the various components fit into that goal. So we put square pegs in round holes, triangles in rectangles. Servant-leadership begins with an honest appraisal of your workforce, then trying to make the goals fit that workforce while you transform it to the workforce you want. Developing is not an abstract concept but practical steps you take to raise the competency of your workforce.

• Kotter (2001) posits that the goal of empowerment is to create leaders at multiple levels within the organization, which is a component of developing others.


You develop leaders who develop other workers, so positive change runs through the organisation.

• Buchen (1998) believes that the goal of servant leaders is to develop other leaders within the organization through dealing with their own ego, empowering and sharing knowledge,
serving first, building relationships, and looking to the future and future generation of leaders.

So there are practical steps to take in what we call development; it means increase of capacity in 4 areas

1. Information/knowledge – sharing knowledge with those around you, no tit bit of information is too small to impart. You must share every lesson, failure, success, and solutions to your team all the time. Always be teaching something, management, accounting, analysis and resolution. View every problem as a chance to get new information that you use to solve other problems. Build the knowledge base of your organisation. Count the hours of training you spend on each, why sack someone you have spend years training?

2. Bureaucracy – reorganising the structure of the organisation to handle more complex problems. Put systems in place for discipline, conflict-resolution, trouble-shooting and performance analysis.

3. Resources – increasing the human resources, qualifications and skills. Also monetary resources like the budget, salaries and bonuses in line with performance. Also the technical and technological capacity of your organisation.

4. Leadership Network – creating a network of leaders in every part of the organisation, even when leaders leave they remain close to the organisation and look after its needs externally. The leadership network is different from the company hierarchy, leaders sometimes have no official position but they have influence.

Servant leaders look for the hidden talents in followers, bring out the best in followers, forgive and help followers to learn from failures, invest time and energy in equipping followers, and raise up successors. The objective is to achieve goals as part of a wider vision, the old model puts goals first before people, if people get in the way of those goals then they have to go. The goal is still important, it is just recognising that you cannot fulfil the goal without people supporting you. It requires an organisation with a long-term approach, a company focused purely on targets cannot implement a servant-leadership program until it sees the long-term benefits of horizontal management. Here we get to the part you all know about, the Big Think; visions, goals, team-building and all that jazz.

The servant leader is both able to inspire vision within the organization and its individual members. Page and Wong (2000) suggest this ability is measured through a strong sense of personal mission, calling, and values.


More to follow in Part.2 Managing the interface between being a servant and a leader

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Principles of true servant-leadership

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s