Servant-Leadership and Teaching

Servant-Leadership is about maximizing the potential of individuals, both those who are served and those who lead. For faculty, there are multiple ways of utilizing Servant-Leadership concepts while working with students. Indeed, Robert Greenleaf’s test of the Servant-Leadership principles is embodied in the following questions, which are relevant to the role of faculty: “Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and more likely themselves to become servants?”

In his article, “Teacher as Servant Leader,” Richard F. Bowman notes that “Operationally, the developmental commitment of the teacher as serving leader is no longer that of controlling or managing energy in others but rather inspiring creative energy in one’s students and colleagues (p. 257). In fact, the more one considers the concept of faculty as Servant-Leaders, the more it’s clear that the link is obvious. Bowman further states, “The teacher as servant-leader functions as a trailblazer for those served by removing obstacles that stand in their path. Part of unleashing another’s talents is helping individuals discover latent, unformed interests. . . .In short, teachers as serving leaders seize daily opportunities to make subtle differences in their students’ lives across time” (pg. 258-259).

Many ACC faculty demonstrate Servant-Leadership but we haven’t called it that. Teachers promote student success, help students grow as learners, and realize their potential in many ways.

  • Active Listening
  • Coaching and influencing students
  • Asking and using student feedback to design and enhance learning activities
  • Ensuring that students know about support services and helping to link them to those that may make a difference in staying enrolled and successfully completing the course or program
  • Taking the time to explain why some behaviors may be inappropriate or sabotage student goals

As ACC continues to learn about Servant-Leadership, more examples will be added to this website.

For more information, visit the Student-Leadership Resources page.

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