Leadership Notes #6 – Servant Leadership Books from the Greenleaf Center

(This series of “notes” first appeared in the YahooGroup “VenturingList” and are written by Michael Brown. I thought that they were worth sharing with the Commissioner Corps.)

For those studying and learning servant leadership, checking out the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership is a good idea (www.greenleaf.org). One of the resources they have is the various works on servant leadership they offer for sale in their shop, some of which they have published.

The Center has been publishing several small books on servant leadership in the last couple of years. These are all short, about 80-100 pages, and all are very good. At present, there are five volumes so far. They are “Stand Tall”, “Servant-Institutions in Business”, “The Case for Servant Leadership”, “The Hine Bibliography”, and “Start with Humility.”

“The Case for Servant Leadership” was written to be a basic introduction to servant leadership. While several would recommend reading Greenleaf’s initial article on servant leadership to begin, that work doesn’t delve into the full aspects of servant leadership that has been worked out since it was written. There are some other articles that are good introductions, and some of the other books out there on servant leadership are good introductions, but no short, comprehensive work

This work fills that gap. The book was written by Kent Keith, who is the CEO of the Greenleaf Center. I found it to be a good read, and touched on some aspects I hadn’t considered.

The book has five chapters. You have an introductory one that explains the basic concept of servant leadership. Then you learn who is a servant leader. Another chapter covers the concept of power and servant leadership. The ideas brought forth here are very important, and one that all should be familiar with. Next we cover 7 aspects of servant leadership. And finally, we learn of the meaningful lives of servant leaders.

For anyone wanting a more comprehensive introduction to servant leadership before tackling more difficult works, this book fills a real need.

“Stand Tall” is a collection of short essays, most being a couple of pages long, on a variety of topics relating to servant leadership. There are about 35 essays. One could just sit down and read them all, or read them at random, or read specific ones. Some of the topics covered are things such as teams, mentoring, service, servant-leadership as a “hard” skill, and much more.

The author of this work is Kelvin Redd, who is the Director of the Center for Servant Leadership at the Pastoral Institute in Columbus, Georgia.

“Servant-Institutions in Business” is an important little work on how various companies use servant leadership as a core element of their corporate culture. Too often some think that servant leadership is only something to use in religious groups or non-profit groups or various clubs or organizations, and that it doesn’t work in business. However, several companies do use it, and they have been very successful.

Eight companies are profiled in this work. I had heard of a couple, but others were unknown to me. They used a variety of companies: publicly owned, privately owned, in different line of business and more. This allows the readers to see the success of servant leadership in a variety of firms.

An interesting postscript was given when they compared several servant-leadership firms against the firms looked at in “Good to Great”, and the servant leadership firms were more successful. This is a topic I think more could have been looked further into.

“The Hine Bibliography” is as its title indicates: an annotated bibliography of selected resources on servant leadership, over 500. As more come out, I hope that they will come out with updated editions.

Their newest volume is “Start with Humility”, which deals with the topic of “humble leaders”, and shows five successful ones. “Humble leaders” are usually servant leaders, as they try to stay in the background and emphasis the work of their group and not themselves.

The Greenleaf Center books are all excellent, and I look forward to further works from them. Check them out.

One thought on “Leadership Notes #6 – Servant Leadership Books from the Greenleaf Center

  1. I’ve read tons of books on this subject and the most interesting I could find was “Are leaders born or made?” written by David Grabovac. He perfectly points out what it needs to succeed and be a leader in today’s society. Highly recommended!

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