“Servant” and “leader” are two words that usually don’t go together, but a true leader cares about the needs of others first. Servant leadership is a philosophy that supports people who choose to serve first and then lead as a way of expanding service to individuals and institutions. The term was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf, a writer, teacher, and founder of the Center for Servant Leadership (renamed the Robert K. Greenleaf Center after his death) who, after a long and successful career in corporate management development at AT&T, dedicated his personal work to the concept of servant leadership:
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
Leadership is a core characteristic of the curriculum of Miss Porter’s School and we strive to teach our students ways to hone the necessary skills to be a strong leader. The Sarah Porter Leadership Institute — one of our summer programs for middle school girls — focuses on servant leadership and how one can become a leader in their own communities. Counselors and their groups had active discussions on servant-leaders who inspired them, as well as service projects happening around the world, or ones in which they themselves have participated in.
Last week, the girls put what they learned to action at the Gifts of Love and Community Farms of Simsbury. While practicing skills of leadership and teamwork, they harvested vegetables which will go to help support people in need in the Greater Hartford area.
Photos: © Connor Noll/Miss Porter’s School