Servant Leadership

By Steve Spanier

July 1, 2018

Interested Board members are reading a book called Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results, a compilation of short essays written by the world’s leading experts in the field of servant leadership. Edited by Ken Blanchard (of The One-Minute Manager fame) and Renee Broadwell, this book includes the writings of Stephen Covey (who wrote The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), Patrick Lencioni (the author of The Ideal Team Player), Brene Brown (who wrote Braving the Wilderness) and many others.

The book’s themes include basic principles of servant leadership, lessons learned by those who have witnessed servant leadership in action, profiles of classic servant leaders and stories of how implementing servant leadership creates both remarkable results and human satisfaction in organizations.

At a recent LOMAA meeting, I invited interested community leaders from that organization to join the Directors in a “book club” designed to study servant leadership concepts and discuss how they may be applied to our community. We hope that, through the book club, we’ll begin to spread the idea that all Oakmont leaders should be community servants.

Servant leadership turns the traditional idea of leadership on its head. Leaders don’t dictate policy to constituents and stakeholders. Instead, they’re obsessed with fulfilling needs, which they understand cannot be learned without proactive solicitation, active listening and earnest discussion.

One of the book’s contributors developed the acronym SERVE and describes the five strategic ways great leaders SERVE: 1) they See and shape the future, 2) they Engage and develop others, 3) they Reinvent continuously, 4) they Value results and relationships, and 5) they Embody the values.

The attentive reader will also note that the concepts that underpin servant leadership also define the transpartisan approach to problem solving. Recall that transpartisanship aims to rise above partisan, positional advocacy toward a higher goal of finding common ground based on assessing and trying to meet the needs of all involved parties.

Servant leadership is not new. In fact, in the book’s introduction, Ken and Renee say “Two thousand years ago, servant leadership was central to the philosophy of Jesus, who exemplified the fully committed and effective servant leader. Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela are well-known modern examples of leaders who have exemplified this philosophy.”

In closing the servant leadership book, Renee Broadwell says “The world is in desperate need of a different leadership model. We’ve seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of society around the world. We need servant leadership disciples and we nominate you. Go forth and spread the word.”

That’s our goal. We hope you will support and join us.