Handbook of Servant Leadership: A Must-Read for You!

SANGGAU NEWS : This is one of the best books by the strategic management expert, Prof. Dr. AB. Susanto. So far, it is the most comprehensive reference on its topic in Indonesia. 

It has a thickness of 276 pages. Published by The Jakarta Consulting Group, with Masri Sareb Putra, M.A., as the co-writer. The book is a hardcover edition, adorned with a jacket and flap cover, presenting a luxurious appearance.

In the midst of today's hedonistic and egoistic world, is there still a leader who serves? Yes, there is!

Although the world may be immersed in a culture that tends towards hedonism, where pleasure and self-satisfaction take center stage, and egoism places personal interests above all else, the reality is that there are still leaders practicing service-based leadership.

True leaders
True leaders don't just emerge as symbols of power and prestige but also as caring servants concerned about the growth and well-being of those around them. They are not trapped in leadership that only accumulates personal power and gains but focus on how they can make a positive impact on society and the individuals they lead.

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These servant leaders, in line with the demands of the times, can be found in various layers of society. They not only guide by giving instructions but actively engage in helping meet the needs and development of others. This concept aligns with Robert K. Greenleaf's idea of servant leadership, where leaders first serve as servants.

It's important to acknowledge that in this fast-paced and highly competitive world, serving leaders may not always be conspicuous or famous. Nevertheless, they provide a sustainable and positive impact on the lives of those around them. Service-based leadership brings values such as empathy, care, and responsibility, which are increasingly needed in facing the complex challenges of our time.

So, yes, amid all the complexities and demands of this age, there are still leaders who choose to serve, set an example of goodness, and bring positive change to the ever-evolving world.

In the current context of national leadership elections
Glaringly, the term "Contradictio in terminis" is felt - contradicting in terminology. Really, a leader serves. Shouldn't a leader be served instead?

Leadership is a service position. Leadership is a position of trust. It involves rights entrusted to someone for the sake of those who bestow the rights, with the expectation and reliance of their lives on the trustee.

This concept originates from the colonial and paternalistic world. In the era of kingdoms, leaders indeed required to be served, not the other way around!

In the current context of national leadership elections, the desired type of leader is now at the forefront. They must embody the essence of this narrative title. It's not just about washing feet; a serving leader also paves the way and empowers their followers.

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Visiting https://www.greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership/ defines such a leader as one who focuses on the growth and well-being of people and their communities. Unlike traditional leadership, which revolves around the accumulation and exercise of power, servant leadership takes a different approach.

Robert K. Greenleaf (1970) is considered the pioneer of modern servant leadership. According to him, a leader is first a servant because fundamentally, everyone likes to be served. Therefore, serve your followers first, and you will inevitably become significant. Just as in a tennis game, who wins? The one with more smashes or the one who serves? The one who serves!

The father of servant leadership provides a broad definition and states the best way to measure a serving leader phenomenon.

In Sendjaya (2015: 45), he asserts:

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant—first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, 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?”

The difference manifests in the leader's role as a servant—ensuring that the served individuals' primary needs are met. The ultimate test, challenging to execute, is whether those served grow personally. Do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely to serve themselves? And what about the impact on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or, at the very least, not be further disadvantaged?

Two keywords seem crucial: serving and the needs of the followers. Greenleaf emphasizes that a servant leader consciously chooses to serve first before anything else.

This conscious choice appears to be the starting point for exploring the leader's motivation that drives them. The motivation element of serving leadership (serving first) illustrates the fundamental concept that sets it apart from other leadership philosophies.

This assumption shapes the servant leader's mental model, stating "I serve" as opposed to the mentality of "I lead." The primary reason leaders exist, according to servant leadership, is to serve first, not to lead first.

How servant leadership operates
Therefore, servant leadership operates under the assumption, "I am a leader because I serve," not "I am a leader because I lead." In servant leadership, leading is serving, and conversely, serving is leading. As practiced and explained by De Pree, CEO of Herman Miller, Inc., the hallmark of serving leadership lies in the action of "serving," not leading.

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Leadership is a service position. Leadership is a position of trust. It involves rights entrusted to someone for the sake of those who bestow the rights, with the expectation and reliance of their lives on the trustee.

Since in servant leadership the leader serves first, this characteristic is established as the primary trait of a serving leader. They must first meet the criteria of a servant before meeting the criteria of a leader.

This book elaborates that service extends beyond literal actions, such as washing feet. It encompasses a broader and deeper dimension, involving efforts to develop one's own and others' potential, providing inspiring guidance, offering motivation to achieve shared goals, setting a positive example, providing both emotional and practical support, offering valuable advice, nurturing well-being, maintaining relationships, and leaving a positive and beneficial legacy for future generations. 

The entirety of this service concept forms a solid foundation for creating an empowering leadership environment. Obtain and delve into this book for a more profound understanding! 

(Rangkaya Bada)

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