Chapter 1What Is Servant Leadership?


Okay, let’s get started. As Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music, “Let’s start at the very beginning. . . .” What is servant leadership all about? In this essay, I’ll give you my thoughts. —KB

WHEN PEOPLE HEAR the phrase servant leadership, they are often confused. Their assumption is that it means managers should be working for their people, who would decide what to do, when to do it, where to do it, and how to do it. If that’s what servant leadership is all about, it doesn’t sound like leadership to them at all. It sounds more like the inmates running the prison, or trying to please everyone.

The problem is that these folks don’t understand leadership—much less servant leadership.1 They ...

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