Saturday, March 8, 2008

Government and Servant Leadership

Robert Greenleaf provides a fantastic test for servant leadership:

"Do those served grow as persons; do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged of society; will he or she benefit, or, at least, will he or she not be further deprived?" ("The Servant as Leader," 1991, p. 7).

As I ponder the election season before us, I am looking for a candidate who can somehow espouse these values in a practical political platform. But perhaps I am asking too much. Is it even possible that a large institution (in this case, the federal government) can effectively (1) facilitate a society that encourages freedom, (2) provide incentives for us to serve each other, and (3) ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not left to fend for themselves?

Hopefully this election season will answer that question affirmatively.

IDEA LEADER: What does servant leadership look like in a political candidate? Which candidate best represents these values?

Photo: Sanja Gjenero