Always a difficult topic in a College of Business setting: Servant leadership. “The best test… is: do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, will they not be further deprived?” “In addition to serving, Greenleaf states that a servant leader has a social responsibility to be concerned about the ‘have-nots’ and those less privileged. If inequalities and social injustices exist, a servant leader tries to remove them.”
Does this sound more compatible with a capitalist political and economic system, or some other form? If another, what form?
Take a look at the ten characteristics of a servant leader found in this chapter.
How are these different from previous conceptualizations of leadership that we have studied? How are they alike? Do you see a significant difference?
Before we dismiss servant leadership as an aberration on the leadership scene, please take a moment and familiarize (or refresh your memory) with the case of Aaron Feuerstein and the Malden Mills factory fire of December 11, 1995. Also, (more recently) the case of Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments—
If the link is broken, cut and past into your favorite search engine.
From my own personal experience, I would offer the example of a businessman in the Central Kentucky area. “Joe” owns several fast-food restaurants locally. When his restaurant in Frankfort suffered a debilitating fire, the restaurant had to close and be completely rebuilt. Joe took it upon himself to continue to pay the average weekly wages to all of his employees during the rebuilding process so that they would not economically suffer from the resultant unemployment.
Is this misguided, do-gooderism on the part of some naïve individuals, or does servant leadership actually have a place in our economic system?