Robert K Greenleaf

A Life of Servant Leadership

Don Frick (Author) | Peter Senge (Foreword by)

Publication date: 06/09/2004

Robert K Greenleaf
What's the BK Life story of the man who invented servant leadership?

Robert Greenleaf lived his own life as a servant-leader before he ever defined the term in a series of brilliant and influential essays that have spawned a worldwide movement. Greenleaf was known as "AT&T's "Kept Revolutionary" during his years as a top official with the telephone giant. He presided over numerous unusual initiatives: a novel program that taught executive decision making through great literature, the first corporate assessment center using knowledge gleaned from the OSS's approach to training civilian spies during World War II, courses in listening, and a program that paired leading philosophers and theologians in conversation with AT&T executives. Early in his career, Greenleaf proclaimed, "The work exists for the person as much as the person exists for the work."

After a period of soul searching and some surprising experiments in consciousness, Greenleaf retired from AT&T and began to develop the concept of servant leadership, the then-heretical notion that leaders lead best by serving their followers rather than "commanding" them. He continued to promote the idea through writing, teaching, and consulting. Along the way he influenced a score of important movements such as The Center for Creative Leadership, Yokefellow Institute, experiments in higher education, and trustee development.

Here is an American original who lived by fundamentals of spirit, not formulas. Always, Greenleaf was a seeker opening himself up to novel experiences and astonishing people. He was a complex person--an introvert who served in public roles, a wise man who refused to give others "The Answer," a brilliant thinker and researcher who often declared, "I am not a scholar." His tombstone carries the epitaph he wrote for himself: "Potentially a good plumber; ruined by a sophisticated education."

At a time when leadership and management fads substitute as wisdom, Robert Greenleaf's life stories provide clues for how each person can make a difference in the workplace, no matter what position he or she holds.

  • The first biography of Robert Greenleaf, originator of the immensely influential concept of "servant leadership" which plays a crucial role in the writings of today's most important business thinkers and has had an major impact on organizations of all types
  • Explores the origin, development, basic concepts, and practical applications of the idea of servant leadership
  • Greenleaf maintained friendships with some of the most important men and women of the twentieth century, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Peter Drucker, the Menninger brothers, Reinhold Niebuhr, Aldous Huxley, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, and many others
  • Includes a foreword by Peter M. Senge

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Book Details
Overview
What's the BK Life story of the man who invented servant leadership?

Robert Greenleaf lived his own life as a servant-leader before he ever defined the term in a series of brilliant and influential essays that have spawned a worldwide movement. Greenleaf was known as "AT&T's "Kept Revolutionary" during his years as a top official with the telephone giant. He presided over numerous unusual initiatives: a novel program that taught executive decision making through great literature, the first corporate assessment center using knowledge gleaned from the OSS's approach to training civilian spies during World War II, courses in listening, and a program that paired leading philosophers and theologians in conversation with AT&T executives. Early in his career, Greenleaf proclaimed, "The work exists for the person as much as the person exists for the work."

After a period of soul searching and some surprising experiments in consciousness, Greenleaf retired from AT&T and began to develop the concept of servant leadership, the then-heretical notion that leaders lead best by serving their followers rather than "commanding" them. He continued to promote the idea through writing, teaching, and consulting. Along the way he influenced a score of important movements such as The Center for Creative Leadership, Yokefellow Institute, experiments in higher education, and trustee development.

Here is an American original who lived by fundamentals of spirit, not formulas. Always, Greenleaf was a seeker opening himself up to novel experiences and astonishing people. He was a complex person--an introvert who served in public roles, a wise man who refused to give others "The Answer," a brilliant thinker and researcher who often declared, "I am not a scholar." His tombstone carries the epitaph he wrote for himself: "Potentially a good plumber; ruined by a sophisticated education."

At a time when leadership and management fads substitute as wisdom, Robert Greenleaf's life stories provide clues for how each person can make a difference in the workplace, no matter what position he or she holds.

  • The first biography of Robert Greenleaf, originator of the immensely influential concept of "servant leadership" which plays a crucial role in the writings of today's most important business thinkers and has had an major impact on organizations of all types
  • Explores the origin, development, basic concepts, and practical applications of the idea of servant leadership
  • Greenleaf maintained friendships with some of the most important men and women of the twentieth century, including Eleanor Roosevelt, Peter Drucker, the Menninger brothers, Reinhold Niebuhr, Aldous Huxley, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson, and many others
  • Includes a foreword by Peter M. Senge
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