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G1481 (Revised October 2007) Becoming a Servant Leader: Do You Have What It Takes? John E. Barbuto Jr., Associate Professor, Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Daniel W. Wheeler, Extension Leadership Development Specialist This NebGuide introduces servant leadership; the 11 dimensions that typically characterize a servant leader, including inherent traits and learned skills; and several practical ways to develop skills necessary for this leadership style. Servant leadership is one of the most talked about yet least critically examined leadership philosophies. While many people closely identify with this leadership approach, an equal number are cynical and question whether expectations of leaders are realistic. This NebGuide provides an introduction to servant leader- ship, based on the works of Robert Greenleaf and Larry Spears, and focuses on the 11 characteristics that identify a servant leader. Of these 11 characteristics, some are inherent attri- butes or beliefs that servant leaders need to hold. Many of these are behavioral in nature and describe what ser- vant leaders do. However, some of these characteristics are developed skills. The ultimate servant leader has developed all 11 characteristics and is continuously improving. These characteristics include having a calling, listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, growth and building community . The next section provides a series of questions to help you determine if you are a servant leader. Following it are descriptions of each of the 11 characteristics and some practical concerns related to servant leadership development. Are You A Servant Leader? Place a check in the box of each of the following questions that you would answer with a “yes.” If you can check more than seven of these, you may be well on your way to becoming a servant leader. Do people believe that you are willing to sacrifice your own self-interest for the good of the group? Do people believe that you want to hear their ideas and will value them? Dopeoplebelievethatyouwillunderstandwhatis happening in their lives and how it affects them? Do people come to you when the chips are down or when something traumatic has happened in their lives? Do others believe that you have a strong aware- ness for what is going on? Do others follow your requests because they want to as opposed to because they “have to?” Do others communicate their ideas and vision for the organization when you are around? Do others have confidence in your ability to antici- pate the future and its consequences?
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  • Summer '16
  • Servant leaders

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