COLUMN: Promoting and embracing servant leadership

Robert K. Greenleaf made the term “servant leadership” popular in the 1960s with the release of his original essay, “The Servant as a Leader.”

In it, he suggested a different approach. This approach required serving others such as employees, customers, and community as the highest priority. This essay launched a movement of leaders as servants and coined the phrase “servant-leader.”

In 1976, Greenleaf published a book titled “Servant Leadership,” which contained a collection of essays expounding on the many facets of a servant leader.

Greenleaf certainly had a heart for serving others, and he believed the main purpose of an organization is to grow its people. This is how he defined success as an organization. He believed he could make the world a better place through servant-leadership. Servant-leaders would be so committed to serving others in their organizations that they would in turn become servant-institutions.

The focus would be on serving their employees, customers, and communities. This singular focus would improve the quality of their lives, as well as having a positive, life-changing effect on society, simply by serving others. Greenleaf, along with countless others, has set an example for one to follow in prioritizing serving others as a hallmark of one’s leadership footprint.

Our mission as a school is to train students academically, spiritually, and socially for God’s call on their lives. We believe there is tremendous leadership potential in our students at Loganville Christian Academy, and we want to be intentional about creating opportunities for students to begin developing leadership skills including responsibility, accountability, and service. The ability to merge traditional leadership skills with a concern for others is ideal and lends itself to the servant leadership model as described by Greenleaf. In addition to the leadership training/opportunities for upper school students, we want to ensure the lower school students also have a good foundation and understanding of leadership principles at an early age.

Lower school students are able to participate in a Leadership Academy. Each tri­mester, students are men­tored by other leaders and participate in leadership activities. Whether a student is a line leader in the classroom, a lunchroom helper, a fourth- and fifth-grade mentor, a worship leader in chapel, student council member or a safety patrol, etc., lower school students have opportunities to practice leadership principles and follow biblical examples of servant leadership.

As the Chinese proverb states, “What I hear, I forget; What I see, I remember; What I do, I understand.” At LCA, we strive to create opportunities for students to ‘do’ so they have a better understanding of leadership. Greenleaf’s leadership style of the 1960’s may be necessary more now than ever. In a day of automation, being able to relate to people through servant leadership may be the job skill most needed in the days ahead.

If you are interested in learning more about LCA, please contact Registrar Sarah Teffertiller. She will be happy to schedule a tour or let you know more about our upcoming Preview Days.

Written by Julie Sirmans. Published by The Walton Tribune.