‘Becoming a Servant-Leader’ by Godwyns Agbude

By Dr. Godwyns Agbude

In 1970, Robert Greenleaf published an essay entitled “The Servant as Leader” dedicated entirely to the concept of servant leadership. This looks like an oxymoron, in that a leader who should be in charge, directing and controlling others should be a servant to them. With the emergence of Greenleaf’s treatise on leadership, it has become less debatable that a leader is not a boss. Many years before Greenleaf came up with this idea of Servant-Leadership, Jesus Christ in the Bible, said to the disciples, “the greatest among you must be a servant”. In other words, to achieve greatness at all, you must serve the people you are leading.

This concept conjures the idea of a maid whose job description is to ensure things run smoothly in the house without appreciating her. It provokes a negative picture in the mind of an average thinker – how can the head of an organization or a unit become a slave to the followers? They exclaim, “This is insane!” The simple truth is that servant-hood remains a fundamental process of becoming a great leader. More so, it is servant-hood and not slave-hood.

There is nothing esoteric and esoteric about servant leadership. Servant leadership is simply the process of putting service to others as a top priority – others-oriented. Green leaf and his disciples have re-worked and built on Jesus Christ’s divine concept of leadership as servant-hood. Thus, I will be remixing their findings in order to articulate this idea.

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