Servant Leadership

Essay by crazyhum July 2007

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Servant leadership as a thought or idea has a family as old as the scriptures. However, the principles that argue servant leadership reflect a universal ethic: humbleness, sincerity, belief, compassion, curing, community, and service. Servant leadership in an institute converses to the general human desire to be known, to concern, and to be concerned for in search of the common good. In The Serving Leader, Jennings and Stahl-Wert (2003) detail five pragmatic principles related to functioning productively as a serving leader in contemporary educational settings. Specifically, the authors stress that becoming a serving leader begins with the natural feeling that one truly wants to serve to serve first, lead secondly.

Fundamentally, servant leadership is personal. Thus, in the ultimate sense, servant leadership is self-inflicted accountability in the service of others. Operationally, the developmental commitment of the teacher as serving leader is no longer that of controlling or managing energy in others but rather inspiring creative energy in one's students and colleagues.

In practice, servant leadership in the classroom initially involves processes of inner growth followed by outer organizational effects.

Jennings and Stahl-Wert firstly posit that educators, as serving leaders, "run to great purpose" (p.100). That great purpose, that pursuit of something truly significant, ultimately pulls leadership challenges into sharp focus. Contextually, serving leaders seek to restore sight to organizations and communities threatened by the myopia of private interest. Paradoxically, serving leaders sense that "when leadership is working, it hurts" (Lowney 288). Serving leaders sense that the process of self-inquiry enables ingenuity by deepening self-understanding. Serving leaders, moreover, persistently chronicle the deeply embedded belief that the defining elements of community are "perceived interdependence" and "generosity" (Pinchot, 44). "Trouble arises," Aristotle observed, "not over inequalities of property, but inequalities of honor" (Eppler 163). Serving leaders understand that a community of learners is...