Servant Leadership: The First Pillar of the Colangelo College of Business

Dr. Gibb and Jerry Coangelo next to CCOB's Servant Leadership pillar

Here in the Colangelo College of Business, we have three pillars:

  1. Servant Leadership
  2. Ethics
  3. Entrepreneurism

I’m often asked to articulate what servant leadership means to our college. The essence of servant leadership is “service before self,” or putting the organization and the people ahead of one’s own needs.  

A servant leader should be the hardest working person in the organization; the one who clearly shares a vision and provides resources, training, coaching and a climate that fully supports their team. Long-term success is created if leadership is accomplished in a manner consistent with patience, kindness, humility, respect and selflessness.

Servant leadership is best defined by Jesus Himself: “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:26–28).

A servant leader should be a steward. Sometimes, leaders come into an organization with the mindset that they are the most important person and that they are the organization. The reality is that the organization was likely around prior to any particular leader and the organization will remain long after any one leader is gone.

As a steward, a leader’s job is to serve others and improve the organization, grow their replacement and hand it off to the next leader better than they received it. Stewardship entails being solely accountable and responsible for an organization, which fits right in line with servant leadership.

As shared in Mark 9:35, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.”

These ideals are the types of characteristics that the Colangelo College of Business hopes to instill in our graduates. We aim to graduate future business owners and leaders who will go into communities as servant leaders and invest in all stakeholders – to serve their community, become profitable and then reinvest in their business, their employees and their community.

If you want to learn how to lead, start serving.

Learn more about the Colangelo College of Business by visiting our website or clicking on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.


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