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Servant Leadership


Had a conversation on leadership with my respectful teacher on this fresh Friday morning, it gave me a lot to reflect on the whole week’s learning-experiencing journey.

I have been thinking about leadership for the whole week. Needless to say, being a good leader does not happen overnight. But what keeps pushing me forward is not only the real pressure as a CEO in our team, but arguably more importantly, myself. In a way, I am seeking a self-breakthrough. As we all know, there are many people in my team who can do my job much better than I. But why I am still here? I have been to so many presentations given by big firms such as Microsoft, IBM and Deloitte. I was told more than once “You have to catch and challenge all the opportunities you’ve been given since if it’s gone, it’s gone for good”.

Back to the readings for this week, Jim Collins (2005) had a really good statement on leadership. The level five leadership is an essential factor for taking a company from good to great. Collins (2005) stated that there are five levels of leadership styles and the highest level requires personal humility and professional will. In order to be a better leader, certain concepts emphasized were: compelling modesty, expertise, unwavering resolve and good work habits. To some extent, it has covered all the characteristics that a great leader is supposed to be. The requirements of leadership as discussed by Collins might just fit the present situation, but they might be not the requirements for future leadership. For example, future leadership might have specific emphasis on charisma, like Steve Jobs. I personally view leaders more as a servant role (Greenleaf, 2003). Greenleaf said that “the servant-leader is a servant first.” To clarify, it is not about being servile, it is about wanting to help others, to be warm-hearted, to be modest (this can be regarded as similar with Collins level 5 leadership), and to be an asset for others. 

There are many people who show their egos in order to stand out in crowds. Sometimes it might not work. That’s why I do not worry about the issue that those who got relatively high SHV put themselves in a group. If there are many “leader’s roles” in a team, it might be harder to maintain consistency and hence go to the down side.

Everyone is different, so are leaders. I define myself as a servant leader in my current situation; however, I am still on my way to identify my own style.




Collins, J. C. (2005). Level 5 leadership: the triumph of humility and fierce resolveHarvard Business Review, 83(7/8), 136—146

Greenleaf, R.K. (2003). The Servant-Leader Within: a Transformative Path New York: Paulist Press.


  1. I was interested to read how you have interpreted the readings for the week. You do seem to have taken them to heart and tried to apply the principles to what has happened, especially regarding the selection group. Just ignore it and move on. In doing this you have demonstrated the difference between a group and a team and nicely explained why followers do not have to be servile but can make a valuable contribution to the team.

    1. Thank you so much for your comments, Stephen. 

  2. I truly enjoyed your reflection as it seems very personal yet still has appropriate ties to the readings.  I can see you have definitely put a lot of thought into this and as such, it is incredibly hard to fault you.  You have shown how the mainstream view of an egotistical leader contrasts with a servant-leader.  I'm sure if you apply this knowledge to your role as a CEO, your team will be better for it.

    1. Thanks for your comment, and I am sure that my team will be better if I apply for what we learned to my role.