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The biggest rivers are first fed by small oozes of water - this observation is an apt way of passing on James W. Sipe's and Don M. Frick's belief that the growing number of practitioners of servant-leadership has increased from an ooze of river. The servant leadership concept continues to grow in its influence and impact. But analyzing the Greenleaf's perspective (p. 1) on servant leadership, they asked does anyone really want to be a servant?
With all the books on leaders, what are the distinctive marks that make Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership different and worth reading? First, this book offers a study of actual businesses undergoing a transformation to servant leadership. Secondly, the gratifying thing about servant leadership is how it affects the organization - the way it gives a complete freedom to employees, offers a continuous ground for improvement and self-direction, build up an intrinsic value within the organization, and finally everyone wins the game. Thirdly, this book can be used as a training manual to implement those seven pillars of servant leadership within any organization. Each pillar outlines an important concept in leadership: person of character, puts people first, skilled communicator, compassionate collaborator, foresight, systems thinker, and finally moral authority.
Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership is a study of the 'pillars' they used as a servant leader to reform and transform lives inside and outside the company. Just as leaders come in all sizes and from all places, so do followers (second pillar). They are the real heroes, who believed that personal convictions, moral responsibilities, and private enterprises could be integrated to make this world a better place. They have stumbled and struggled in trying something new and different, yet the fruit of their labor provided models for others to see that they were truly committed to these pillars. The authors did not guarantee any results, however.
While talking about leaders, they said leaders can speak with a heavy accent or be as refreshingly clear as a glass of iced tea on a hot, summer day (third pillar). They further argued that the servant leaders have to see leadership as a form of service to other people and undertake the responsibilities willingly (fifth pillar), not through compulsion, or grudgingly, or by reason of self-centeredness. Servant leadership is an act that will benefit other people as much, if not more, than the leader him or himself.
Sipe and Frick (2009) further stress that servant leadership is not a quick-fix approach. Nor is it something that can be quickly instilled within a company. At its core, servant leadership is a long-term, transformational approach to life and work - in essence, a way of being - that has the potential for creating positive change throughout the society. Leaders need to have an epiphany in order to change the way they do businesses so that their corporate culture can change the way they live life. They will also describe how to maximize the defining moments in the life of the leader and how adversity becomes the best teacher for a corporate executive interested in developing credibility within a company.