Since 1970, Robert Greenleaf's (1904-1990) writings on servant leadership have powerfully influenced every imaginable field of endeavor, from management training and education to corporate ethics and religious missions. Scores of books and articles expanding on or using his concept of applying humanist values to life and work have appeared since then, but less has been written about the man himself. Authorized by Greenleaf's surviving children, this biography covers his early years in Indiana, where he was born, and the great inspiration his father provided as the prototype ""servant leader."" The book details the sources of his thought, describes his experiences as a businessman and a Quaker, highlights his friendships with dozens of luminaries - including Eleanor Roosevelt, Aldous Huxley, and the Menninger brothers - and shows how he changed business history long before his first book was published at age 73.
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Since Greenleaf’s death in 1990, new volumes of his writing and scores of books on the ideas and applications of servant-leadership have been published. In spite of all the interest, there has been no biography of the man who first lived the servant-leader philosophy, created the term and applied it to management and organizations. This is ironic since Greenleaf believed identity should precede action, and his personal identity has never been fully explored. Moreover, several emphases in Greenleaf’s writings can only be fully understood in the context of his life.
The times have finally caught up with Greenleaf’s ideas. Since the publication of his first essay "The Servant as Leader" in 1970, his writings on servant-leadership have powerfully influenced management training, education and evaluation, experiential learning, organizational development, seminary education, foundation work, religious missions and practice, corporate ethics, trusteeship and a dozen other fields in profit, non-profit and government organizations. And that influence is growing.
Robert Greenleaf once told an interviewer, "My writings are all autobiographical." It is difficult to fully appreciate the juice of servant leadership without some understanding of Greenleaf’s life. Moreover, his story is simply inspiring.
Robert K. Greenleaf will provide the most comprehensive exploration yet of the sources and principles of servant-leadership in the context of the man who created the management philosophy that may dominate the Information Age. It will also inspire readers with story of a remarkable person.About the Author:
Don Frick holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Master of Divinity, and is a candidate for the Ph.D. in Leadership and Organizational Studies from The Union Institute and University in Cincinnati.
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