ACC Servant-Leadership

Austin Community College believes that the Servant-Leadership model fits well in a teaching/learning environment, and in the shared governance structure of the college. Former ACC President Dr. Stephen B. Kinslow launched the Servant-Leadership initiative in 2005 to more consistently express our values in serving our students, our colleagues, and our community. He felt this management style was a way to further expand and enhance the many good things that characterize ACC.

The initial phase of the Servant-Leadership initiative began with Servant-Leadership training for all supervisors in 2005 and early 2006. The college further developed and explained the concept and its implications for faculty and staff at Spring Development Day in spring 2006. Since then, ACC’s Professional Development program has included an emphasis of Servant-Leadership principles.

What is Servant-Leadership?

Robert Greenleaf described the concept of Servant-Leadership in his essay, “The Servant as Leader.” He discussed the motivation of a Servant-Leader:

It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. This is different from the person who is the leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage a power drive or to acquire material possessions. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant–first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being met.

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?

Who is Robert Greenleaf?

Robert K. Greenleaf was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1904.  Following his retirement from AT&T in 1964, Greenleaf founded the Center for Applied Ethics, which was renamed the Robert K. Greenleaf Center in 1985 (also known as the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership), now headquartered in Indianapolis. He then launched a second career which lasted until shortly before his death, in 1990, at the age of 86. During this period he became well-known in leadership circles as a writer, speaker, and consultant to many large institutions.

For more information, view the ACC Servant Leadership Resources page.

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