New challenges and priorities have redefined the business world of today. Proven importance of human resources, social and environmental concerns led business companies to take leadership and corporate social responsibility increasingly and seriously.
This has taken many forms or approaches: company donations to charity, socially and environmentally-responsible business practices and services, ethically produced products, philanthropy, corporate foundations, and company-organized volunteer activities. Many companies discovered corporate profit/ success, business ethics and social welfare are interdependent and business profitability can go with betterment of society and environment. His Holiness, Pope Francis declared that
“Business is a noble vocation, …directed to producing wealth and improving the world.”
One leadership paradigm that has been developed and practiced by organizations to be effective is servant leadership. In 1970, Robert Greenleaf in his essay “The Servant as Leader” wrote that servant leadership begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then the desire to lead follows. Business leaders find out that by ensuring the needs of stakeholders first – the customers, subordinate employees, investors, and the least in society – a multiplier of goodwill, intrinsic motivation, and high performance is generated. It becomes a relationship, a way of life.
Although Greenleaf gave this new concept its name and later, many authors wrote about this kind of leadership, the Scripture so plainly and succinctly describes it in Mark 10:45: “I came not to be served but to serve.”
Servant leadership in this context goes beyond the initial secular treatise of Greenleaf but puts Jesus Christ as our role model, as the ultimate epitome of an authentic servant leader. This applies to every one, not only Christians, but to all sectors of our society, whatever our religious faith is. This kind of servant leadership encompasses all aspects of our life, family, work or business, church, and society as a whole. This goes far beyond corporate social responsibility as practiced today but becomes our true way of life whoever or wherever we are. Serviam’s goal and purpose in organizing these conferences on servant leadership is to heighten society’s awareness of how this leadership can impact on various sectors of our society, for the common good of all.
Servant Leadership in Business Conference was held on January 31, 2018 at Makati Shangri-La
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Conference Souvenir Program