Serve one another in love

Do you feel a calling to serve others, but also lead through compassion and wisdom? Do you want to enrich lives, develop better organizations, and create a more positive world? You may be a servant-leader!

Join us to learn about and share your experiences servant leadership. Each month, in conjunction with Servant-Leader Milwaukee, Concordia University’s Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the Office of Alumni Relations host the Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable. The meetings are held the second Thursday of the month,  from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. in the Lakeshore Room at the Mequon Campus. While the topic changes each month, the enduring theme of the roundtable is "the wisdom is in the room."

Upcoming Servant Leader Roundtables via Zoom

Contact Elizabeth Evans at 262-243-4283 or for the information to join a meeting on Zoom.

Thursday January 12, 2023 from 7:30am to 8:30am on Zoom

Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable
Topic: Servant Leaders Embrace and Welcome Feedback

As you consider the heart issue of leadership, a primary question you continue to have to ask yourself is: Am I a servant leader or a self-serving leader? It is a question that, when answered with brutal honesty, will go to the core of your intention and motivation as a leader. One of the quickest ways you can tell the difference between a servant leader and a self-serving leader is how they handle feedback, because one of the biggest fears that self-serving leaders have to is to lose their position.

Self-serving leaders spend most of their time protecting their status. If you give them feedback, how do they usually respond? Negatively. They think your feedback means that you don’t want their leadership anymore. Servant leaders, however, look at leadership as an act of service. They embrace and welcome feedback as a source of useful information on how they can provide better service. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, The Servant Leader: Transforming Your Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits, 2003

Thursday February 9, 2023 from 7:30am to 8:30am on Zoom

Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable
Topic: Turning the Traditional Hierarchy Upside Down For Effective Implementation

As a leader, let your people know what’s expected so they can excel. . The traditional hierarchy is good for the visionary aspect of leadership. People look to the leader for vision and direction, and although a leader should involve experienced people in shaping direction, the ultimate responsibility remains the leader and cannot be delegated to others. However, the implementation role – living according to the vision – is where most leaders and organizations get into trouble. The traditional hierarchy too often is kept alive and well leaving the customers neglected at the bottom. All the energy in the organization moves up the hierarchy as workers try to please and be responsive to their bosses. The authoritarian structure too often forces the front-line people, the customer contact people, to say frustrating things like, “It’s our policy,” or “I just work here,” or Do you want to talk to the supervisor?” In this environment, self-serving leaders assume “the sheep are there for the benefit of the shepherd.”

Effective implementation requires turning the hierarchy upside down so the customer contact people are at the top of the organization and are able to respond to customers, while leaders serve the needs of employees, helping them to accomplish the vision and direction of the organization. . .When you turn the traditional hierarchy upside down for implementation, you have the people closest to the customers – the object of your business – with all the power, all the capabilities to make decisions and solve problems. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, The Servant Leader: Transforming Your Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits, 2003

Thursday March 9, 2023 from 7:30am to 8:30am on Zoom

Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable
Topic: Valuing People and Performance

Another key element of being a servant leader is to consider people’s development as an equal end goal as their performance. As a servant leader, the way you serve the vision is by developing people so that they can work on that vision even when you’re not around. The ultimate sign of an effective servant leader is what happens when you are not there. . . As we seek to leave a legacy of servant leadership behind when our own season of leadership is finished, we can do so modeling our values and investing our time in developing others. Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges, The Servant Leader: Transforming Your Heart, Head, Hands, and Habits, 2003

Thursday April 13, 2023 from 7:30am to 8:30am on Zoom

Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable
Topic: Acceptance of Others

“A major aspect of servant leadership is acceptance of others; by creating an environment where everyone feels accepted, it helps create a “psychological ethical climate” that allows employees to be authentic and not fear judgment from leadership for being themselves. It encourages a forgiving and understanding attitude that allows employees to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes, and channel that into personal and professional growth in the organization.” Sarah K. White, 2022

Thursday May 11, 2023 from 7:30am to 8:30am on Zoom

Concordia Servant Leader Roundtable
Topic: Ask, Don’t Tell

“In order to bring the concepts of servant leadership to your people you must prepare them, educate them, train them. I‘ve often heard this comment ‘Surely there is some piece of quick and easy advice you give to people who want to engage in the kind of leadership you advocate.’ In fact, I do have a piece of advice – quick, but not so easy – and I offer it to new managers, to would-be managers, to would-be servant leaders, and even to parents. When you are tempted to tell someone what to do, instead ask the question, ‘What do you think you should do now?’ Or in an organizational setting, ‘What do you think we should do?’ This is the only quick tip I have, but believe me, it can work magic. Remember, when tempted to tell, ask instead. “ James A. Autry, The Servant Leader, 2001

What is servant leadership?

Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

“The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. The best test is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society; will they benefit, or, at least, not be further deprived?”  

Greenleaf, R. K. (1977/2002, p. 27). Servant-leadership: "A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness". Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press.

Ten Principles of Servant Leadership

by Robert Greenleaf
  1. Listening - Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are communicating.
  1. Empathy - Servant-leaders strive to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. One must assume the good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even when forced to reject their behavior or performance.
  1. Healing - Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one's self and others. In "The Servant as Leader", Greenleaf writes, "There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between the servant-leader and led is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something that they have."
  1. Awareness - General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness can be scary--one never knows that one may discover! As Greenleaf observed, "Awareness is not a giver of solace - it's just the opposite. It disturbed. They are not seekers of solace. They have their own inner security."
  1. Persuasion - Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership. The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups.
  1. Conceptualization - Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between conceptualization and day-to-day focus.
  1. Foresight - Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.
  1. Stewardship - Robert Greenleaf's view of all institutions was one in which CEO's, staff, directors, and trustees all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust for the great good of society.
  1. Commitment to the Growth of People - Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.
  2. Building Community - Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives has changed our perceptions and has caused a feeling of loss. Servant-leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work within a given institution.

Learn more

If you have questions about servant leadership, or would like to register for an upcoming roundtable at CUW, please contact Elizabeth Evans.