Tip #72 Sustain and Enhance Your Board's Commitment to Servant-Leadership

September 1, 2021  |  tips for effective boards

After your board commits to servant-leadership, it is important that it attends to sustaining and continuing to enhance its commitment to servant-leadership.  The following tips are presented for your consideration. 


1.     New board member orientation.  It is important to include an overview of servant-leadership as part of the orientation of new board members (as well as CEO and staff).  Ideally, one or more board members can be involved in providing this overview.

2.     Ongoing board and board member development.  Providing occasional educational sessions on servant-leadership and a brief opportunity at each board meeting to reflect on servant-leadership values can help sustain and enhance the commitment of individual board members and the board as a whole to the values of servant-leadership.

3.     Champions.  The ongoing commitment of individual board members and the board as a whole to the values of servant-leadership is dramatically increased if a number of board members are encouraged and supported in developing an advanced appreciation of the values of servant-leadership.  Participation in the networking and formal educational opportunities provided by the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership including its international conference, courses, podcasts, and assessing the catalog of writings available for purchase offers such champion-building opportunities.  Check out www.greenleaf.org.

4.     Board leadership development.  It is important in general to be proactive in preparing board members to assume and be successful in board leadership positions.  Preparation for assuming such positions can include education specific to servant-leadership.

5.     CEO hiring and ongoing development.  At times of CEO transition, it is important to seek a CEO whose leadership style is consistent with servant-leadership values (that is, a participative empowering leadership style instead of a coercive authoritarian style).  It is also important that the board be supportive of ongoing CEO access to relevant training and professional development opportunities related to servant-leadership.

6.     Commitment to ongoing board self-evaluation of its governance practice grounded in servant-leadership values.  Board self-evaluation mechanisms might include use of an end of meeting evaluation questionnaire, self-assessment of compliance with board policies related to servant-leadership, and periodic comprehensive self-evaluation guided by a trained consultant.


It is important to remember that servant-leadership is not a specific program or programs.   Rather, it is a constellation of values.  It is up to boards to decide which servant-leadership values they wish to operationalize in their board and organization. 


To learn more about servant-leadership, google servant-leadership or Robert K. Greenleaf or visit the Spears Center for Servant-Leadership: www.spearscenter.org


To learn more about the Policy Governance® model, please click  https://www.BoardsOnCourse.com/policy-governance.