wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Robert Greenleaf (1904-90)Robert Greenleaf


American (pictured right) whose idea of “servant leadership” (see below) has been very influential.


Key book

Servant Leadership (1977)

A leader should serve people above anything else.

This idea of “servant leadership” is more precisely defined through these questions:

  • Do those served grow as persons?
  • Do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?
  • What is the effect on the least privileged in society?
  • Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?


So a leader should be:


1. Chosen by their followers 



2. Primus inter pares 

First among equals.


3. Empathetic 

Tolerant, sensitive and a good listener.


4. Empowering 

Turning their people into servants.


5. A community builder 

Inspiring co-operation and commitment through a shared purpose and vision.


6. Reflective 

Putting thought into action.


7. Moral 

Character, trust, respect and integrity.


8. A steward 

(of people’s spiritual and physical welfare).


9. Intuitive 

An instinct for the unforeseeable and unknowable (because there is never enough information).


10. Socially responsible

Responsiveness to the needs of the underprivileged.


Key quotes on leadership and management

The great leader is seen as servant first.

Legitimacy begins with trust.


Key quote on motivation

The work exists for the person as much as the person exists for the work.



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