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Robert K. Greenleaf

Deceased Person

Robert K. Greenleaf (1904–1990) was the founder of the modern Servant leadership movement. Greenleaf was born in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1904. After graduating from Carleton College in Minnesota, he went to work for AT&T, then the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. For the next forty years he researched management, development, and education. All along, he felt a growing suspicion that the power-centered authoritarian leadership style so prominent in U.S. institutions was not working, and in 1964 he took an early retirement to found the Center for Applied Ethics. According to his essay, "Essentials of Servant Leadership", Greenleaf’s philosophy had its roots from reading a work of fiction in 1958: "The idea of the servant as leader came out of reading Hermann Hesse’s Journey to the East. In this story, we see a band of men on a mythical journey… The central figure of the story is Leo, who accompanies the party as the servant who does their menial chores, but who also sustains them with his spirit and his song. He is a person of extraordinary presence. All goes well until Leo disappears. Then the group falls into disarray and the journey is abandoned. They cannot make it  ( Wikipedia article )

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Personal facts

Known as
Robert Greenleaf
Date of birth
1904
Place of birth
Terre Haute

Education

Institution From To
Carleton College

Death

Date of death
1990

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