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Servant Leadership


One reason that there is so much pain and suffering in the world is that people are using the power model of leadership. They think that leadership is about acquiring and wielding power. There is a much better model, the service model. The service model is not about acquiring and wielding power, it is about making a positive difference in the lives of others. Servant leaders live the service model. Rather than trying to accumulate power and wealth for themselves, servant leaders focus on identifying and meeting the needs of others.


I am sure that the world will be a much better place if we have a lot more servant leaders. That is why I am so passionate about servant leadership. I have enjoyed learning about, applying, and sharing information about servant leadership. I have also enjoyed being part of the servant leadership movement, especially during the years during which I served as CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership in the United States (2007-2012) and CEO of the Greenleaf Centre for Servant Leadership (Asia) in Singapore (2012-2015).



I have set up three websites to share information about servant leadership:


servantleadership101.  The purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive resource on servant leadership, drawn from many people and sources. You can explore the definition and characteristics of servant leaders, learn why it works, meet practitioners, review academic research, find books and articles, and discover insights in movies and videos. I have been fortunate to know many of the people featured on this website. This website is a tribute to them. I am personally grateful for the many contributions they are making to the servant leadership movement.


toservefirst. I created this website as an outlet for some of my own writings, as well as a way to share highlights of servant leadership research and provide links to useful books and materials. The website includes the definition of servant leadership, the key practices of a servant-leader, and a recommended reading list.


discoveringservantleadership. In 2018, I was invited to give nine lectures on Christian servant leadership. The purpose of this website is to share the text of those lectures, as well as to provide links to videos of each of the lectures. My goal in the lectures was to connect the teachings of the Bible with daily reality, addressing practical questions that are important regardless of what kind of organization one is leading in the ministry or the marketplace. Along the way, I included plenty of stories about servant leaders in action, stories that illustrate their effectiveness in the real world. In preparing the lectures, I drew upon a number of my books and articles on servant leadership. I also added stories that I have never told before.



I have published five books relating to servant leadership:


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The Case for Servant Leadership (2nd edition, 2012). ​I wrote The Case for Servant Leadership as an easy-to-read introduction to servant leadership. It describes servant leadership as ethical, practical, and meaningful. The book cites the universal importance of service, defines servant leadership, compares the power model of leadership with the service model, outlines some key practices of servant-leaders, and explores the meaningful lives of servant-leaders. The book includes an appendix on servant leadership compared with other ideas about leadership, as well as questions for reflection and discussion. The book has been used by businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, hospitals, and more than forty universities around the United States. More than 50,000 copies have been sold since the first edition was published in 2008.


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Servant Leadership in the Boardroom: Fulfilling the Public Trust (2011). This book presents and augments the views of Robert Greenleaf on the opportunity of board members of all types of corporations—for-profit and non-profit—to truly lead and make a difference for their organizations and the people their organizations serve. The book provides historical background on the public purpose of all corporations, the responsibilities of board members as trustees for the public good, the unique value of board judgments, the relationship between the board and administration, the role of the Chair, and keys to board effectiveness. The appendix includes key reminders for servant-leaders in the boardroom, a discussion of the shareholder primacy issue affecting for-profit boards, and an overview of servant leadership for those who are new to the subject.

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Questions and Answers about Servant Leadership (2012). This booklet shares the questions that I am often asked and the answers that I like to give when I am making presentations. In some cases, the answers have been expanded for this publication. The booklet is designed to be especially useful to those who naturally begin with questions, whether they are new to servant leadership or have been on the journey for many years. Where applicable, answers conclude with recommendations for additional reading. A list of all the recommended readings can be found at the end of the text.


The Christian Leader at Work: Serving by Leading (2012). I wrote this book while preparing to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in Christian servant leadership at Pacific Rim Christian University. The book is for Christian leaders, whether they are leaders in churches, businesses, non-profit organizations, the military, government agencies, schools, or hospitals. Beginning with the importance of faith, the commandment to love, and the call to serve, the book describes the service model of leadership, key practices of servant-leaders, and organizational structures that are based on the teachings of Jesus and the guidance of Scripture. It addresses practical leadership issues such as motivation, leading change, and how to be effective as a leader who is in the world, not of the world. I sought to combine the wisdom of the Scriptures with empirical research and experience that supports Biblical teachings. The book includes a Study Guide for individual reflection or group discussion, plus a list of Biblical references, bibliography, and notes. To download a PDF of the book, click here. To order a copy of the paperback, click here.


Discovering Servant Leadership (2018). This is the text that I used in presenting nine lectures that explore how to be
a Christian servant leader. The lectures were based heavily on my book, The Christian Leader at Work (see the description above). To download a PDF of the book, click here. 
To order a copy of the paperback, click here.

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