Some people like that name. And some people don’t.
Likewise, in my experience, some companies use the terms “servant-leader” and “servant leadership” to describe great leadership as they see it. Some use other terms. Or no term at all.
For example, the Conscious Capitalism organization uses the term “conscious leader” in place of the term “servant-leader.” One of the four pillars of conscious capitalism is “conscious leadership,” defined as follows:
Robert Greenleaf, author of Servant Leadership observed that “Good leaders must first become good servants.”
Conscious Leaders focus on “we,” rather than “me.” They inspire, foster transformation and bring out the best in those around them.
They understand that their role is to serve the purpose of the organization, to support the people within the organization and to create value for the all of the organization’s stakeholders. They recognize the integral role of culture and purposefully cultivate a Conscious Culture of trust and care.*
Sounds like servant leadership, no?
Of course, plenty of other people use the term servant leadership in the workplace context.
Among my favorites are Ari Weinzweig and his colleagues at Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They do great servant leadership work – and make a mean Rugelach.**
What do I think?
I think it doesn’t much matter what we call it. It matters that we do it.
I’m with Shakespeare:
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet.***
So, don’t get hung up on the name. I say use a term that works best in your corporate culture.
What do you think? Do you use the term “servant leadership” at work? Do you see any reason to prefer one name to another?
Let us know.
As always, we appreciate your views.
And don’t forget to download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!
* To explore Conscious Capitalism and find out more about conscious leadership, click here.
Like Conscious Capitalism, author Jim Collins chose to coin his own term – the “Level 5 Leader” – to describe servant leadership in the workplace as he saw it. More on that: “’Servant Leadership’” and ‘Level 5 Leadership’”
** A good read, highly recommended for those interested in the practical application of servant leadership in the workplace: Ari Weinzweig, A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach to Being a Better Leader (Zingerman’s Guide to Good Leading) (Ann Arbor: Zingerman’s 2012).
And to order for the holidays: Zingerman’s mail order.
*** Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2.