Robert K. Greenleaf’s servant leadership has become an attractive approach for morally-motivated leaders. However, paradoxes found in servant leadership have the potential to create confusion among those individuals interested in its practice. To assist prospective leaders in deciding upon whether to follow the concepts of servant leadership, an exhaustive literature review was conducted by the researcher to find and code definitions from servant leadership-related writings. The results from the initial coding phase were the following themes: Personal Growth, Development, and Empowerment of Employees; Spiritual, Affirmational, and Ethically-Minded Approach toward Employees; Steward Dedicated to Service of Community and Placing Others First; and Traits-Based Leadership. The second round of selective coding yielded Repetitively Embracing Personal Sacrifice as its core theme. Three questions that arose from this specified theme were, “Am I willing to embrace personal sacrifice on a continual basis to practice servant leadership? If so, how do I stay motivated to sustain the concept of putting others first? If not, is there a way to negotiate an understanding where employees are supported in the leadership approach/style I feel most comfortable using?” These self-assessing questions were recommended for connecting Greenleaf’s (1977) questions-based logic on the practice of servant leadership between his call to service and the final decision of becoming a servant leader.
Davis, Henry J.
"Discerning the Servant’s Path: Applying Pre-Committal Questioning to Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership,"
The Journal of Values-Based Leadership: Vol. 10
, Article 10.
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/jvbl/vol10/iss2/10