by Dr. Fred C. Campbell
The name Robert Greenleaf is synonymous with servant leadership. For forty years he worked for AT&T in researched management, development, and education. He had a growing suspicion that the top-down, autocratic, command-and-control leadership style wasn’t working in U.S. institutions.
Greenleaf was captivated by the idea of a servant being the best leader. In a book entitled Servant Leadership, he wrote that “the great leader is seen as servant first and that simple fact is the key to his greatness.” Service comes before leadership.
Someone greater and smarter than Robert Greenleaf actually said it first. Before His death, Jesus told His team of disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you, must be your servant (emphasis a willingness to serve) and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all” (emphasis on an obligation to serve). Then He defined His mission, “. . . not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45) His leadership led Him to the Cross. It cost Him His life.
Great leadership isn’t primarily about methods, techniques, and skills. It’s not about titles, positions, corner offices, exquisite memberships in private clubs, tailored suits and luxury cars. GREAT LEADERS LEAD BEST WHEN THEY SERVE. SERVING MAKES A LEADER GREAT, BUT YOU MAY PAY A PRICE FOR SELF-DENIAL.