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Looking at Jesus Christ as the basis for servant leadership, one could say that the concept of servant leadership has actually been around for centuries. Academically, servant leadership has emerged in the last thirty years largely due to the research and discoveries of Robert Greenleaf. Even more recently, Dr. Kathleen Patterson has been at the forefront of this leadership development; she describes servant leadership primarily as the leader being a servant first, then being a leader. A key distinction between servant leadership and other leadership approaches, is that the focus of the leader is on their followers, rather than on financial profit or organizational goals. True to the oxymoronic nature of the “Jesus way,” where humility leads to greatness, tithing leads to prosperity, and the least is the greatest of all, servant leadership places emphasis not on the followers serving the leader(s) but on the leader(s) serving their followers.

Dr. Patterson is currently a professor in the School of Business & Leadership at Regent University as well as director of Regent’s Doctor of Strategic Leadership program. In addition to being certified in Leadership Practices Inventory, Patterson directs Regent’s annual Servant Leadership Research Roundtable. She has won several awards such as Faculty of the Year and Chancellor’s Award, and she is involved with numerous leadership associations, The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership and International Leadership Association, to name a few.  

Known for her pioneering research on servant leadership, Dr. Patterson’s expertise and wisdom in this field will greatly benefit leaders today. For more information on Dr. Patterson and her development on servant leadership, click here.  

article by Rachel Choi