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.