The servant-leader is servant first. ... It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. . . . The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant─first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, 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 [or the church]; will they benefit, or at least, not be further deprived?"
Well-known servant leaders exist, but many more servant leaders─most, in fact─have by their very nature remained anonymous, even though their contributions have been equally meaningful. By their lives and their achievements, they have illustrated several principles which Greenleaf has identified concerning leadership.
(1) The best leader is the one who leads from a primary motivation to serve;
(2) Individuals, through their actions, can and do make a difference, even in a modern society seemingly dominated by technology and bureaucracy; and,
(3) Human successes, like human failures, are composed of one action at a time and achieved by one person at a time.
The Robert K. Greenleaf Center, 1100 W. 42nd Street, Suite 321, Indianapolis, IN 46208, has as its mission to improve the caring and quality of all institutions through a new approach to leadership, structure, and decisionmaking. Servant-leadership emphasizes increased service to others; a holistic approach to work; promoting a sense of community and the sharing of power in decisionmaking. Those interested in receiving resources and catalogs from them may write to the above address.