Book Review - the Serving Leader

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A Review of The Serving Leader: 5 Powerful Actions That Will Transform Your Team, Your Business and Your Community

Review of The Serving Leader


Jennings, K., & Stahl-Wert, J. (2004). The Serving Leader: 5 Powerful Actions That Will Transform Your Team, Your Business and Your Community. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

The book The Serving Leader, presents an alternative approach to leadership based on actions rather than theory. The dynamics of Serving Leadership are introduced using a narrative centered on an estranged son and his dying father. It is through the
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Traditionally leaders take on the role of directing people. For example, Bohlander & Snell (2013) state “achieving success increasingly depends on an organization’s ability to manage talent” (p. 4). On the contrary, a Serving Leader takes on an alternative approach to achieving success by supporting staff and personnel; it is through motivation and building upon individual successes that an organization is able to acquire total success. Basically leaders take the traditional top down approach and reverse it, which is where we get the first principle known as upending the pyramid. “By putting others first in this way, the Serving Leader is able to catalyze the creation of high performance teams” (Jennings & Stahl-Wert, 2004, p. 28). Because a Serving Leader is one that must be capable of reaching and connecting with many, selecting the first few to serve should be an extensive selection process, as the expectation is that those few will go on to serve many.

Developing a recruitment and selection process with high standards is what will result in attaining personnel capable of amplifying excellence, which is the first step of the second principle, known as raising the bar. “Regardless of whether the company is large or small, hiring the best and brightest employees lays a strong foundation for excellence”
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