Servant Leadership, as a term, is most connected to the work of Robert Greenleaf, beginning with his book Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. The underlying idea is that the most effective form of leadership is in the form is service. True leaders do not rule with iron fists, but serve their community (organization, business, whatever social arrangement).
Christians have the prime example of a servant leader in Jesus Christ, but this concept is not exclusively Christian. The Laozi from ca. 5th century BC China (thank you History of Asian Cultures course) speaks of leadership in a similar vein. Indian, Islamic and other ancient writings, religious and secular, promote servant leadership.
While at the University Catholic Center, our team introduced this philosophy to student leaders and developed their skills toward leading through service. Within ministry or the non-profit world, this model is obvious. While not as obviously applicable to businesses, research is clear that companies based on servant leadership are successful.
What about at home? From my Catholic perspective, the way spouses should treat one another and parents must lead a home from a servant’s perspective. How can the concept of servant leadership, as a formal leadership model, be applied to home life? What best practices exist that help to realize this “leadership structure” within the most basic unit of society?
Being a father is to lead the house. Mothers lead too, but there are plenty of “mommy blogs” out there that speak to the trials, tribulations, best practices and philosophies of motherhood. Fatherhood isn’t as explored online and, being a dad, I can only speak personally to the masculine aspect of domestic leadership.
Over the coming months, I hope you will join me as we explore leadership, fatherhood, rearing kids, spirituality and more.