15 Best Books on Servant Leadership

Best Books on Servant LeadershipS

ervant leadership is the act of leading with service, making decisions based on what is best for others. Servant leadership is one of the most valuable concepts in leadership. There is a great distinction between servant leadership and leadership. Servant leadership is about you serving the community. Leadership is about being a leader. You become a servant leader by empowering others to do the things that are necessary for the community to thrive.

Best Books on Servant Leadership: THE LIST

1. The Servant as Leader
2. Servant Leadership in Action
3. The Power of Servant Leadership
4. Servant Leadership
5. The Servant Leader (Autry)
6. The Servant Leader (Blanchard)
7. The Case for Servant Leadership
8. The Servant
9. Dare to Serve
10. The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle
11. Lead Like Jesus
12. Servant Leadership Roadmap
13. The Serving Leader
14. Leaders Eat Last
15. Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership

1. The Servant as Leader | By Robert K. Greenleaf

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This is the essay that started it all. Powerful, poetic and practical. The Servant as Leader describes some of the characteristics and activities of servant-leaders, providing examples which show that individual efforts, inspired by vision and a servant ethic, can make a substantial difference in the quality of society. Greenleaf discusses the skills necessary to be a servant-leader; the importance of awareness, foresight and listening; and the contrasts between coercive, manipulative, and persuasive power. A must-read.

2. Servant Leadership in Action | By Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell

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We’ve all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders in every sector of our society. Not infrequently, they end up bringing down their entire organization. But there is another way: servant leadership.

Servant leaders lead by serving their people, not by exalting themselves. This collection features forty-four renowned servant leadership experts and practitioners–prominent business executives, bestselling authors, and respected spiritual leaders–who offer advice and tools for implementing this proven, but for some still radical, leadership model.

Edited by legendary business author and lifelong servant leader Ken Blanchard and his longtime editor Renee Broadwell, this is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging guide ever published for what is, in every sense, a better way to lead.

3. The Power of Servant Leadership | By Robert K. Greenleaf

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During the last decade, we have witnessed an unparalleled explosion of interest in the practice of “servant-leadership”, as today’s business leaders search for a new leadership model for the 21st century. Based on the seminal work of Robert K. Greenleaf, a former AT&T executive who coined the term almost 30 years ago, servant-leadership emphasizes an emerging approach to leadership – one which puts serving others, including employees, customers, and community, first. In fact, Greenleaf’s work, including his best-selling Servant-Leadership, has become increasingly popular since his death in 1990 and continues to inspire a growing movement of people and organizations concerned with issues of leadership, management, service, and spirit.

The Power of Servant Leadership is a collection of nine of Greenleaf’s most compelling essays on servant-leadership. These essays, published together in one volume for the first time, contain many of Greenleaf’s best insights into the nature and practice of servant-leadership and show his continual refinement of the servant-as-leader concept. In addition, several of the essays focus on the related issues of spirit, commitment to vision, and wholeness.

4. Servant Leadership | By Robert K. Greenleaf

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The Revolution Has Only Just Begun Twenty-five years ago Robert Greenleaf published these prophetic essays on what he coined servant leadership, a practical philosophy that replaces traditional autocratic leadership with a holistic, ethical approach. This highly influential book has been embraced by cutting edge management everywhere. Yet in these days of Enron and what VISA CEO Dee Hock calls our “era of massive institutional failure,” Greenleaf’s seminal work must reach the mainstream now more than ever. Servant Leadership― · helps leaders find their true power and moral authority to lead. · helps those served become healthier, wiser, freer, and more autonomous. · encourages collaboration, trust, listening, and empowerment. · offers long-lasting change, not a temporary fix. · extends beyond business for leaders of all types of groups.

5. The Servant Leader | By James A. Autry

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Leadership is a calling. And servant leadership—the idea that managing with respect, honesty, love, and spirituality empowers employees—helps individuals answer that calling. Bestselling author and former Fortune 500 executive James A. Autry reveals the servant leader’s tools, a set of skills and ideals that will transform the way business is done. It helps leaders nurture the needs and goals of those who look to them for leadership. The result is a more productive, successful, and happier organization, and a more meaningful life for the leader.

Autry reveals how to remain true to the servant leadership model when handling day-to-day and long-term management situations, including how to:

•Provide guidance during conflict and crisis
•Assure your continued growth and progress as a leader
•Train managers in the principles of servant leadership
•Transform a company with morale problems into a great place to work

Practiced by one-third of the companies on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list, servant leadership is a thriving philosophy. Ultimately, Autry explores how it can be a valuable, refreshing, and rewarding approach to leading others in business life.

6. The Servant Leader | By Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges

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Best-selling author of The One-Minute Manager, Ken Blanchard, along with Phil Hodges, offers guidance for how to become a successful modern-day servant leader modeled after Jesus Christ. Based on years of leadership study and proven leadership styles, Blanchard gives established and up-and-coming business leaders solid examples, tools, and methods for life-changing results in their leadership of others.

Servant Leader summarizes the Four Dimensions of Leadership:

  • leadership assumptions and methods
  • application and leadership behavior
  • using the heart to overcome selfish motives and barriers
  • the habits of leaders

Readers looking to expand their effective leadership skills, to experience the transforming power of Blanchard’s unconventional teachings, and to grow as leaders and as business executives will benefit greatly from Servant Leader.

7. The Case for Servant Leadership | By Kent M. Keith

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This book is an introduction to servant leadership. The author argues that servant leadership is ethical, practical, and meaningful. He cites the universal importance of service, defines servant leadership, compares the power model of leadership with the service model, describes some key practices of servant-leaders, explores the meaningful lives of servant-leaders, and offers questions for reflection and discussion. The new second edition of the book provides additional quotations and examples; summaries of scholarly definitions of servant leadership and research on the impacts of servant leadership in the workplace; an appendix on servant leadership compared with other ideas or theories of leadership; and a list of sources for those who wish to explore servant leadership further.

8. The Servant | By James C. Hunter

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In this absorbing tale, you watch the timeless principles of servant leadership unfold through the story of John Daily, a businessman whose outwardly successful life is spiraling out of control. He is failing miserably in each of his leadership roles as boss, husband, father, and coach. To get his life back on track, he reluctantly attends a weeklong leadership retreat at a remote Benedictine monastery.

To John’s surprise, the monk leading the seminar is a former business executive and Wall Street legend. Taking John under his wing, the monk guides him to a realization that is simple yet profound: The true foundation of leadership is not power, but authority, which is built upon relationships, love, service, and sacrifice.

Along with John, you will learn that the principles in this book are neither new nor complex. They don’t demand special talents; they are simply based on strengthening the bonds of respect, responsibility, and caring with the people around you. The Servant‘s message can be applied by anyone, anywhere—at home or at work.

If you are tired of books that lecture instead of teach; if you are searching for ways to improve your leadership skills; if you want to understand the timeless virtues that lead to lasting and meaningful success, then this book is one you cannot afford to miss.

9. Dare to Serve | By Cheryl Bachelder

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In this updated edition of Dare to Serve, former Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder shows that leading by serving is a rigorous and tough-minded approach that yields the best results.

When she was named CEO of Popeyes in 2007, the stock price had slipped from $34 in 2002 to $13. The brand was stagnant, the team was discouraged, and the franchisees were just plain angry. Nine years later, restaurant sales were up 45 percent, restaurant profits had doubled, and the stock price was over $61. Servant leadership is sometimes derided as soft or ineffective, but this book confirms that challenging people to reach a daring destination, while treating them with dignity, creates the conditions for superior performance.

The second edition of this bestselling book includes Bachelder’s post-Popeyes observations and new examples of how you can switch your leadership from self to serve. Ever engaging and inspirational, Bachelder takes you firsthand through the transformation of Popeyes and shows how anyone, at any level can become a Dare-to-Serve leader.

10. The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle | By James C. Hunter

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In The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle, Hunter demonstrates that leadership and character development are one and the same. But the work, even the pain, of changing one’s self –  breaking old, worn-out habits – is difficult. Hunter provides an uncomplicated, straightforward, three-step change process he has seen successfully employed by literally thousands of leaders to effect change in their lives and organizations and fulfill beneficial goals.

This groundbreaking book will open the eyes of frustrated, disheartened leaders at every level and foster change for good at the personal, organizational, and societal level.

11. Lead Like Jesus | By Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges

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Effective leadership—whether on the job, in the community, at church or in the home—starts on the inside. Before you can hope to lead anyone else, you have to know who you are. Every leader must answer two critical questions:

  1. Whose are you going to be?
  2. Who are you going to be?

One deals with your relationship to Christ. The other with your life purpose.

In this newly revised classic, renowned leadership expert Ken Blanchard along guides readers through the process of discovering how to lead like Jesus. It really could be described as the process of aligning two internal domains-the heart and the head; and two external domains—the hands and the habits. These four dimensions of leadership form the outline for this very practical and transformational book. With simple yet profound principles from the life of Jesus, and dozens of stories and leadership examples from his own life, Ken Blanchard will once again show us the way effective leaders lead.

12. Servant Leadership Roadmap | By Cara Bramlet

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Are you ready to TAKE CHARGE of your leadership?  Are you NEW to management or looking for a quick refresher?

Do you wonder how some managers lead ROCK-STAR teams and rise above expectations?

Imagine leading individuals through inspiration instead of just by being the boss.  Your team is INSPIRED to come to work every day.  You and your team feel VALUED at the end of every day.   Your team gives you heads-up of known failures or challenges.  They take initiative and manage their own problems; thus leaving you FREE for your daily tasks.

Imagine creating an environment where everyone rises to their highest potential.  YOU lead the ROCK-STAR team and rise above expectations.  YOU have a devoted team of followers who follow you.  YOU have less worry over the tasks being performed by your team.

Is this your world?  Sound like a dream world?

This is not a crazy, idealized notion.

Servant leadership is the answer.  It is the most powerful and influential style of leadership.

Self-awareness is the ability to represent and know your true self, openness to suggestion and knowing your impact on the team.  Through knowing YOUR OWN leadership style and qualities, you can guide your employees into a high performing team!

Are you tired of struggling with leading individuals you don’t directly manage?  Are you ready to take people with you and have other follow your lead?

Learn how to know you are meeting the needs of your employees and ensure your employees are feeling VALUED!

Learn the answer behind the question “can servant leadership be taught?”

13. The Serving Leader | By Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wart

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It’s people who make organizations great, so how can leaders best help their people achieve that greatness? As Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wert show in this new edition of their bestseller, you can’t just demand greatness—you have to inspire it. The most effective leaders don’t just stand in front of their people, they stand behind them too. As one of the characters in the book notes, “You qualify to be first by putting other people first.” This concept sounds paradoxical, but it leads to extraordinary outcomes—and The Serving Leader shows precisely how and why.

While Jennings and Stahl-Wert use a compelling fictional story to outline the basics of Serving Leadership, all the characters in it are based on real people, the organizations depicted are based on real organizations—and the results they achieved are what really happened. This edition features a new foreword by Ken Blanchard, a new introduction, and a new chapter checking back in with Mike, the main character, to see what he has learned in the twelve years since he embraced Serving Leadership

On one level this is the most practical guide available to implementing Serving Leadership; on a deeper level, it is a book about the personal journey of growth that real leadership requires. Great organizations are great because they’re filled with people who freely choose to do their very best. It’s a maddeningly simple concept yet stunningly hard to execute. Jennings and Stahl-Wert show leaders how to earn that kind of commitment.

14. Leaders Eat Last | By Simon Sinek

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Imagine a world where almost everyone wakes up inspired to go to work, feels trusted and valued during the day, then returns home feeling fulfilled. This is not a crazy, idealized notion. Today, in many successful organizations, great leaders create environments in which people naturally work together to do remarkable things.

In his work with organizations around the world, Simon Sinek noticed that some teams trust each other so deeply that they would literally put their lives on the line for each other. Other teams, no matter what incentives are offered, are doomed to infighting, fragmentation and failure. Why?

The answer became clear during a conversation with a Marine Corps general. “Officers eat last,” he said. Sinek watched as the most junior Marines ate first while the most senior Marines took their place at the back of the line. What’s symbolic in the chow hall is deadly serious on the battlefield: Great leaders sacrifice their own comfort–even their own survival–for the good of those in their care.
    
Too many workplaces are driven by cynicism, paranoia, and self-interest. But the best ones foster trust and cooperation because their leaders build what Sinek calls a “Circle of Safety” that separates the security inside the team from the challenges outside.

Sinek illustrates his ideas with fascinating true stories that range from the military to big business, from government to investment banking.

15. Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership | By Don M. Frick

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Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership trains readers in how to evolve and implement the competencies and behaviors of servant leadership using pointed questions, stories, exercises, case studies, and research-based activities that the authors have field-tested with numerous leaders in the public and private sectors. Seven Pillars goes beyond developing individual skills, however. Each chapter includes stories of how servant-led companies have integrated specific servant leadership principles and skills into corporate cultures and policies. The final chapter offers updated strategies and examples so that readers can begin implementing servant leadership in their own organizations. The book includes questions that are ideal for small groups, that reflect the findings of twenty years of research on the changes of human behavior that take place in individuals and organizations.

Final Thoughts on the Best Books on Servant Leadership

There are two models of servant leadership. On the one hand, there is this type of leadership that says we need a lot of support for others. But on the other hand, there is a greenleaf leadership model that says we have enough support, we have many servants that are growing up. It is a servant leadership model that is rooted in accountability. It is rooted in values that say the servant leader does not have to make people do something they are not ready for.

Happy reading!

Do you see a book that you think should be on the list? Let us know your feedback here.

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