Servant Leadership: Defining the Focus of Leadership Introduction The challenges and opportunities facing science and society today are demanding a new form of leadership that will better serve organizations, the community, and society. Of the different

workplace. Various models of spiritual leadership have been developed over the past 10 years. Some of these models integrate other contemporary models of leadership. For example, Fry (2003) developed a model of spiritual leadership integrating aspects from authentic leadership, transformational leadership, and servant leadership. In his model, spirituality provides a higher level of capability to enable transformation and realize improved performance. Spiritual leadership, is based on having the values, attributes, and behaviors, to motivate not only others but also oneself. Spiritual leaders through their presence have the capabilities to inspire followers and stakeholders to build a culture where there is a sense of meaning, community, belonging, and social responsibility.

A series of articles on spirituality and the workplace has been compiled by Giacalone and Jurkiewicz (2005). One of these articles how spirituality lies in the desire of many people to infuse their “lives with meaning” (p.46). People want to have a sense of purpose personally and in their jobs. They want to feel there is some meaning in what they do. It is this desire for purpose and a sense of meaning that results in leaders and their people adding value to the stakeholders and contributing to society and the greater good.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) as a concept in leadership has been equated to Intelligent Quotient (IQ). The concept of intelligence, or IQ, is about analytical intelligence. The concept of emotional intelligence (EQ) is about emotional intelligence. The basic concept behind emotional intelligence in leaders is that they can identify and assess their own emotions and the emotions of others around them. Additionally, these leaders with high levels of EQ can manage their own emotions and help others in manage their. And higher levels of EQ are related to higher levels of performance in the workplace.

The field of emotional intelligence in leadership evolved from the study of emotional intelligence in psychology. Based on these studies of the brain, new models of leadership based on emotional intelligence have evolved, including “primal leadership” or “resonant leadership” developed by Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee (2002). This model proposes four dimensions that comprise a leader’s emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Higher levels of these dimensions correlate with more effective leadership.

Servant Leadership

Although some models of leadership, such as emotional intelligence, change leadership, or visionary leadership, tend to focus on a single dimension of leadership, other models, such as spiritual leadership and servant leadership, are much broader in their scope.  Servant leadership is a model which has been researched and applied in organizations for over 30 years. This model has become popular because of its focus on and ability to help create value for all of the stakeholders in an organization including the environment and society. The model is based on the value of serving the greater good. Robert Greenleaf, who worked in organizations such as AT&T, proposed this model which is based on his belief that leaders should take action to build a better society.

Greenleaf (1977) defined servant leaders as those who believed they must put other people’s needs and interests above their own needs and interests. And from this belief came the foundation for his leadership paradox: The primary motive for a servant leader is not to lead, but to serve (Greenleaf, 1977). Based on this focus of service, followers were likely to “grow healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and more likely themselves to become servants” (Greenleaf, 1977, p. 13-14). And at the same time these leaders saw themselves as stewards or trustees of an organization’s resources (Sendjaya, 2002). They were willing to be both responsible and accountable for these resources.

The model of servant leadership has been refined by some of Greenleaf’s followers (including Larry Spears, President and CEO for the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership), who have defined the characteristics of servant leaders.  Some of these characteristics, identified in an interview with James Dittmar (2006), were foresight, listening, and persuasion. The development of the servant leadership model and the dimensions behind it were in part a reflection of Greenleaf’s worldview. This worldview was influenced by many different factors such as his reading of the Journey to the East and his personal experience as a Quaker. From a philosophical perspective, he believed in the Socratic Method as an approach to learning and teaching. Often Greenleaf would use the Socratic Method, answering a question with a question (Dittmar, 2006).  Although servant leadership is often associated with Christian beliefs, the beliefs and practice of servant leadership can add a new dimension to any individual faith or philosophies that help shape a person’s worldview.


There are many challenges and opportunities facing society today. In order to ensure the success and survival of organizations, effective leadership has become a personal and organizational priority. There are many different contemporary leadership models that have been found to be effective. Organizations and individuals can create their own personal model of leadership based on their own values, beliefs, and culture. Some models, such as servant leadership, focusing on adding value to all stakeholders and helping to improve society, are emerging as viable options for today and for the future