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Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness 25th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, November, 2002

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Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness 25th Anniversary Edition + Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving + The Power of Servant-Leadership
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Paulist Pr; 25 Anv edition (November 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809105543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809105540
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Servant Leadership is one of those rare books that will live far beyond the life of its creator. -- James A. Autry, author of Servant Leader and Love & Profit

This book will create leadership that contains such virtues as growth, responsibility and love. -- Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor, Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California; author of Organizing Genius

This is both symbol and substance on the shelf of anyone blessed with the opportunity to lead. -- John Carver, author of Boards That Make a Difference

This most welcomed new edition will influence a new generation to serve better. -- Godric Ernest Scott Bader, Life President, Scott Bader Commonwealth Ltd.

About the Author

Robert K. Greenleaf is considered the creator of the modern trend to empower employees; he also coined the term servant-leadership. He was a top executive in management, research, development, and education at AT&T, as well as a visiting lecturer at MIT's Sloan School of Management and Harvard Business School. He also taught at Dartmouth College and the University of Virginia. Upon his retirement from AT&T, he founded the Center for Applied Ethics, which eventually became the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, located in Indianapolis. Greenleaf died in 1990 at the age of 86.

Larry C. Spears is CEO of the Greenleaf Center in Indianapolis, IN.

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Customer Reviews

This was one of the most insightful books I've ever read.
Brian Potvin
I urge anyone serious about servant leadership to read this masterful work.
Ben Lichtenwalner
Provides a great explanation of Servant Leadership theory.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

114 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Dodd on July 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you are looking for a leadership book with a different approach from the usual leadership book, and one that is intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking, then you should definitely read this book of collected talks, essays, and articles from Robert K. Greenleaf.
Armed with varied and extensive civilian leadership experience, Greenleaf boldly took me on "a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness." This journey challenged me early on when Greenleaf stated that the traditional hierarchical leadership used in most organizations, one person in charge as the lone chief atop a pyramidal structure, is the likely cause of most of our leadership problems. Greenleaf favored another, less frequently used tradition where the principle leader is "primus inter pares" - first among equals.
Throughout the book, Greenleaf made a compelling case that "primus inter pares" exists in important places with conspicuous success. With my leadership experience rooted in the traditional military hierarchical structure, at times it was difficult to understand Greenleaf's perspectives on the first or second read.
Greenleaf's insights into the servant as leader (one who makes sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served) in the first chapter lays the foundation for his subsequent chapters: the institution as servant, trustees as servants, servant leadership in business, servant leadership in education, servant leadership in foundations, servant leadership in churches, servant leaders, servant responsibility in a bureaucratic society, and America and world leadership.
With all the recent attention focused on moral and ethical breakdowns within some large and powerful institutions (Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson, the Catholic Church, etc.), this book's continued relevance is obvious. Overcoming my challenges in reading this book was definitely worth the effort.
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135 of 143 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 21, 1998
Format: Paperback
This collection of Robert Greenleaf's lectures, essays and articles is truly remarkable, if for nothing else, for it's timing. Though originally compiled and published in the late seventy's, Robert Greenleaf's thoughts on Leadership were originally written and spoken in the 50's, 60's and early 70's ---- Fully 20 years ahead of the surge in popularity of "teams", "loyalty", "mutual-service covenants", and "empowerment". As Nagle and Pascarella point out in LEVERAGING PEOPLE AND PROFIT - THE HARD WORK of SOFT MANAGEMENT, "the next frontier of competitive advantage lies in engaging and energizing the creativity and enthusiasm of the workforce". It was Robert Greenleaf who first marked the trail to this frontier by teaching business managers how to lead by serving the needs of all stakeholders. Greenleaf understood (and clearly articulated) the need to shift the workplace environment away from "compliance", and toward "enthusiastic engagement". He understood that the scientific workplace created by F.W. Taylor was but a stepping stone to a more civil, more satisfying, and ultimately more productive covenant of service, satisfaction, and growth. Though at times ponderous and obscure, Greenleaf's work should be required reading for fresh-faced MBAs who have grown accustomed to the pablum of simple formulas and buzzwords. Perhaps if more of them were forced to chew their way through his thought processes, there might be more LEADERS and fewer paint-by-numbers B-school clones.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Tojoyama on October 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
You only need one book on the purpose and spirit of leadership and this is it. The single first essay is all that is really needed, yet Greenleaf offers several alternate versions for various professions and walks of life. Stick with the first and any specific one that applies to you.
This is why leaders lead. No tricks, no help here for someone wanting to learn leadership tricks to advance or get ahead. If you have a cause, if you want to serve, then this is for you. Corporate ladder climbers and greedy chumps need no waste their time.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Chad Oberholtzer on June 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you read anything about the idea of servant leadership, you are likely to encounter a passing reference to Robert Greenleaf's work, if not an outright declaration of adoration. His book "Servant Leadership" and the essay entitled "The Servant as Leader" which is the first chapter of the book have now influenced multiple generations of leaders. He has shaped the language and cast a vision for effective and ethical leadership based first and foremost on serving others, which continues to gain traction in a culture where servanthood may elicit initial impressions of weakness or ineptitude. For offering a compelling alternative to cut-throat, me-first leadership, we all owe Greenleaf a debt of gratitude.

Nonetheless, as truly groundbreaking as this book and its ideas have been over the past 40 years, it's a chore to read. Greenleaf's writing style is rather cumbersome, and his points are sometimes difficult to understand. He writes primarily from an abstract, theoretical perspective, and I found myself often wishing that he would have integrated more stories, more practical examples into his writing. I often felt like he was possibly offering a reasonable idea, but I'd need to read about its actual implementation in a real-life setting to really understand what he was saying. But those examples were few and far between.

It is clear that Greenleaf was a brilliant man, and his influence in leadership within corporate, educational, and religious institutions continues to resonate into the 21st-century. But rather than reading this book, I'd recommend that those who are interested in servant leadership should read his initial essay ("The Servant as Leader") and then move on to books written by more accessible authors (i.e. Ken Blanchard). I'm glad to have plowed through this book because of its place in the modern leadership canon, but I'm hard-pressed to recommend it to anyone but the most serious of servant leadership scholars.
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