What Makes Servant Leadership?

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“It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead” (Robert K. Greenleaf).
16 year old immigrant, John W. Nordstrom came from Sweden, arriving in America with the hope of starting a better life. 14 years later, he opened a shoe store, the beginning of one of America’s leading fashion lines today. Known for its outstanding customer service, you may know it as Nordstrom. The founder of this company was one of the many business leaders who made it big in the Klondike Gold Rush. John W. Nordstrom demonstrated servant leadership by developing a philosophy to always deliver customers the best service possible, a foundation for the company’s success today.
What is servant leadership? Servant leadership is shown when an individual or an organization thrives to support others around them and uses their power to make others stronger.
John W. Nordstrom was born on February 15th, 1871. His childhood was not a happy one. When he turned 16, he decided to leave his home country for America. In the first years of his childhood, his family got along fine. However, after his father’s death, his family’s lives depended on him and his siblings. In his autobiography, he recited that his mother expected him to do work that his brother, who was 10 years older than him could do. “I often cried when I had trouble doing things she expected me to do and couldn’t and felt very helpless” (Nordstrom 10).
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