Servant Leadership Workplace-Taught

Can Servant Leadership Be Taught?

“Leadership cannot really be taught. It can only be learned.”

That’s a quote from Harold Geneen.* He is best known for being CEO of the ITT Corporation during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Geneen says that leadership can be learned. In saying that, he seems to reject the view that leaders are born, not made.

But at the same time, Geneen says that leadership cannot really be taught.

There are a lot of people out there who might disagree. Heck, there’s a whole industry – academic and commercial – built around teaching leadership!

Thought provoking, no?

Can something be learned but not taught?

Can leadership be taught?

Those are two good questions.

Adding to them, from my perspective, is a third good question:

Can servant leadership be taught?

Wow, I need to think about these questions a bit more. I’ll get back to you as soon as I do. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, what do you think? Can leadership – and especially can servant leadership – be taught?

Let us know.

As always, we appreciate your views.


Joe – [email protected]


* The quote is from Geneen’s book, Managing (New York: Doubleday 1984) at 99.

And speaking of books, don’t forget to download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!

2 thoughts on “Can Servant Leadership Be Taught?”

  1. In my opinion servant leadership begins with an attitude, an attitude that says I will change. I will take responsibility. I will stand up and do right even if it not popular. I will be a leader of the solution. If a leader buys into that attitude, they will learn and can be taught. The military has leadership schools. They have been pretty successful.

    As a leader, I have ability and flexibility to affect change. My direct reports don’t always have the ability or the confidence to affect change. All to frequently they are not clear as to what is within their control. Hence they walk away from the problem or kick the can down the road. If that is happening under my leadership I must take responsibility for their actions.

    Leaders should make “I” statements all the time. Such as “I let that happen”. “I was not proactive”. I take reasonability”. “I didn’t respond the way I should have”.
    Two tremendous books are “Culture Change” and “Extreme Ownership How navy Seals Lead and Win”

  2. No one can teach leadership, but everyone can learn leadership. I personally believe that leadership is the ability to change the vision into reality. To decide if anybody can gain an understanding of becoming a servant leader, first, you must have to investigate what being a service leader necessitates. Listening, affinity, assuage, consciousness, encouragement, intellection, forward planning, preservation and dedication to the growth of the people are some of the major characteristics of a servant leadership. Well, a professional can help you in leadership but he can’t forcefully teach you. So, take the help of a professional and develop these attributes, so that you can definitely gain the power of servant leadership.

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