Discussion Questions and Exercises

  1. In what ways is servant leadership a paradox? Is servant leadership more of a trait or a behavior?
  2. Have you known people who, by nature, are servants?
  3. How might a servant leader’s gender, age, or ethnicity influence how he or she is perceived by followers?
  4. When have you had “the natural desire to want to serve, to serve first” in a situation? How does this fit with your aspirations to lead?
  5. Is it always possible to build consensus in groups? If not, what is a servant leader to do?
  6. Some of the measures used to assess servant leadership have a spiritual dimension to them (covenantal relationship, transcendental spirituality). How are spirituality and ethical behavior related?
  7. In your mind, are there any risks associated with servant leadership?
  8. How can organizations, and not just individual leaders, become models of servanthood? Is it possible to practice servant leadership in a competitive corporate climate?
  9. Why is healing a central characteristic of a servant leader? Can you think of any examples where a leader was equipped to help a follower overcome a problem? How does helping someone become whole, in turn heal the servant leader?
  10. How does servant leadership foster self-actualization in followers?
  11. What is the distinction between persuasion and influence?
  12. How is servant leadership different from authentic leadership?
  13. An empirical study by Hunter et al. (2013) concluded that “leaders scoring high in agreeableness and low in extraversion were more likely to be perceived as servant leaders by their followers.” How might one’s degree of extraversion lead to (not) being perceived as a servant leader?
  14. Is it possible to be a servant leader and not be very humble?
  15. Why is it important to develop a theoretical basis for servant leadership?
  16. Is it possible to practice servant leadership in a computer-mediated environment (e.g., in a virtual team)?