Over the past two decades, I have devoted myself to the joyful task of encouraging a better world through expanding our understanding and practices of servant-leadership. Much of my work has focused on communicating these ideas through a series of books, journals, articles, newsletters, essays, interviews, the internet, radio and television appearances, and hundreds of public presentations around the world. Slowly-but-surely, public awareness and practice of servant-leadership has grown.
It has been one year since The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership, Inc. was approved as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. As a recognized public charity, we are eligible to receive contributions, grants, bequests, and other kinds of financial support. Financial donations to the Spears Center are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the tax laws.
The Spears Center board and I are working hard to put into place the basic building blocks for growing The Spears Center as a long-term resource for servant-leadership information and inspiration. We cordially invite you to show your support of our past, present, and future work through the kindness of your financial contribution to The Spears Center. Gifts to The Spears Center are deductible in computing Federal income tax. Donations of any size will be gratefully received, used well, and much appreciated.
To Donate Online - Please click HERE.
Or, if you prefer, your check may be sent to:
The Spears Center
329 Garden Grace Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46239
It is my sincere hope that in this season of giving you may be willing to show your support for our work in servant-leadership, today. Thank you.
Warm regards, Larry Larry C. Spears, President & CEO The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership
Spears has been affiliated in multiple ways with Gonzaga University and its many leadership programs for the past three years, teaching undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral students. He has illumined the life and work of Robert K. Greenleaf, the founder of servant-leadership, by publishing hundreds of articles, essays, newsletters, books and other publications on servant-leadership worldwide. Spears is president and CEO of the Indianapolis-based Larry C. Spears Center for Servant-Leadership, Inc., founded in 2008. He served for 17 years (1990-2007) as president and CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership. Greenleaf coined the phrase “servant leadership” in “The Servant as Leader,” a 1970 essay he published.
Many of the top 20 organizations in Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work for are purposefully servant-led companies, including Starbucks, Southwest Air, and TDIndustries, said Professor Shann Ferch, chair of Gonzaga’s Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies. “Perhaps most importantly, Larry’s understanding of the interior of the leader, listening, and foresight, has become foundational to personal and organizational discernment in servant-leadership,” Ferch said.
The Servant Leadership Scholar designation is intended to honor Spears’ international academic contributions, recognize Gonzaga’s connection to him, and ensure Gonzaga students will have access to the preeminent thought leader in servant leadership for years to come. Larry will continue to reside in Indianapolis, while making more frequent visits to Spokane. Much of his new work will continue to be done as a joint collaboration between The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership and Gonzaga University.
“We are so honored to have Larry Spears teaching in our leadership programs at Gonzaga, and newly appointed as the Servant Leadership Scholar for Gonzaga University in the School of Professional Studies. His years of collaboration with the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies have culminated in this appointment and we could not be more pleased,” Ferch said. “Larry has also given readers, writers, and practitioners a profound depth of wisdom, practical application, and soulful understanding on a leadership way of life that has begun to unseat the traditional command and control leadership methodologies and in turn evoke in society the capacity for self-transcendence and individual and collective responsibility across all spectrums of human endeavor.”
During the past 20 years, Spears has helped shape global understanding and awareness of servant-leadership. His conception of the 10 characteristics of servant-leadership, gleaned from his in-depth study of Greenleaf's works, has become a significant and enduring contribution to the field worldwide.
“His past years leading the Greenleaf Center and his current role as president of The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership have propelled a healthy and robust groundswell of servant-leadership in the United States and abroad,” Ferch said. “A direct reflection of this can be seen in significant quantitative and qualitative research on servant-leadership, under way in Europe, Australia, North and South America, and Asia.”
Spears’ more than 10 books on servant-leadership, including the best-seller Insights on Leadership, continue to reach a wide international audience. His most recent essays include “Myers-Briggs and Servant-Leadership,” and “Seekers Anonymous.”
“Over the past decade I have enjoyed an expanding relationship with Gonzaga University, and with its outstanding faculty, students, staff, and alumni,” Spears said. “My experiences with Gonzaga have been both fruitful and fun. In my view, Gonzaga University is a remarkable living laboratory of servant-leadership. It has developed a global and growing reputation as a distinctive leader in servant-leadership through its sponsoring of The International Journal of Servant-Leadership, throughits offering of graduate and undergraduate courses in servant-leadership, and in other ways. The spirit of servant-leadership is easy to see in its mission, and in its people. I am deeply grateful and honored by this appointment; and, I look forward to deepening my engagement with the Gonzaga community in the coming years, through my new role as Servant-Leadership Scholar.”
The Gonzaga University School of Professional Studies’ Servant-Leadership Scholar, among other criteria, reflects an enduring legacy of encouraging others to become servant leaders; benefits (or at least does not further deprive) the least privileged of society; is a luminous example of cura personalis , a Latin phrase that means “care for the whole person”; and has established an enduring legacy of thoughtful engagement of the mind, heart, and spirit to help heal the mind, heart, and spirit of the world. The Scholar also will conduct engagements to enhance and expand the sharing of servant-leadership knowledge and research. Examples of forums that might be developed include, but are not limited to the following: The Robert K. Greenleaf Lectureship Series, the Servant Leadership Writing and Development Series, the Servant Leadership Cura Personalis Colloquium; and senior advisory editorship of The International Journal of Servant Leadership , a role Larry Spears has held since the inception of the prestigious journal seven years ago.
Spears has been interviewed by dozens of major daily newspapers, magazines and other publications nationwide. A 2004 TV interview of Spears by Stone Philips on NBC’s “Dateline” helped introduce servant-leadership and Greenleaf to 10 million viewers. He created and edited various books on servant-leadership and has contributed to many others. He also served as the series editor of the Servant-Leadership Essay Series, and is senior advisory editor for The International Journal of Servant Leadership (2005-Present). Since 1990, Spears has given more than 200 keynote speeches on servant-leadership on four continents, a dozen countries, and 40 states. He knew Robert Greenleaf and first encountered Greenleaf’s writings on servant-leadership in the early 1980s while working with the Quaker magazine, Friends Journal. After Greenleaf died in 1990, Spears examined Greenleaf’s personal papers and discovered dozens of previously unpublished essays written by Greenleaf over a 50-year period. Many of these essays were later collected and published in 1996 in two volumes: On Becoming a Servant-Leader and Seeker and Servant.
My mother-in-law passed away last month, following a long struggle with Alzheimer's. She was 94 years old. Verona Blesse Lafferty was a devoted nurse for fifty years. She served as a Captain in the U.S. Army during World War II as a member of the 21st General Hospital Unit, serving in N. Africa, Italy, and France, where she earned a Bronze Battle Star. As an anesthetist and as a nurse, she cared for thousands of wounded GIs; and, after the war, for tens of thousands of patients at hospitals in Colorado, South Dakota, and Indiana. At her funeral, the minister spoke of her legacy as a wonderful "servant-leader." While she was "Mom" to my wife, I most often saw her through the eyes of our sons--as "Grammie." Our sons are now grown, but the image that I have of her is that of a grandmother who was happy to sit on the floor and play with matchbox cars with our then-young boys. They could always count on hugs and cookies from their Grammie. And while Alzheimer's gradually took her away, bit-by-bit, it is clear to me that she was, indeed, a servant-leader who made a real difference in the lives of many people over the course of her life--soldiers, civilians, grandsons, and many others.
I am reminded that servant-leaders are not the exception. In reality, we are surrounded by real servant-leaders every day--imperfect human beings who are also genuine servant-leaders. Many have never heard the term before, but they live their lives in a sincere effort to serve and lead as best they can. Others are genuine servant-followers: they have no desire to lead others, but they have a strong desire to follow only servant-leaders.
Together, servant-leaders and servant-followers can-and-do make a difference.
Larry C. Spears, President & CEO
The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership
I am blessed to know a great many wonderful people. Some of them are people whom I see frequently. Others are friends and colleagues whom I see only occasionally. Then there are a few whom I have never actually met, and yet I feel close to them because of years of shared correspondence and phone calls. One person in the latter category is Lane Baldwin.
I first encountered Lane around 2001, when The Men’s Wearhouse began a special webpage called “Common Threads,” in which The Greenleaf Center was the first non-profit organization to be profiled. At the time, Lane worked for The Men’s Wearhouse, and he and I had a flurry of contact around the creation of the Common Threads/Men’s Wearhouse webpage.
Over the past eight years, Lane and I have had intermittent email exchanges and phone calls—mostly around servant-leadership. His has been a consistently encouraging voice—and he is someone whose spirit I value.
Lane leads an interesting life. He is a multi-talented person who simultaneously carries on three or four different careers as business writer and consultant (www.lanebaldwin.com), volunteer and community activist (www.lifewithspirit.org); and, as a talented musician (www.laneonbass.com).
Lane has recently created the Life with Spirit Foundation, which seeks to use servant-leadership principles to strengthen community bonds by bringing people together to serve those with the greatest need. One of the exciting projects of Life with Spirit Foundation is Foodstock Charities, in Danville, Illinois. The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership is honored to serve as a co-sponsor of their work, including a series of monthly dinners for those in need.
“All faiths teach that the key to fulfillment is our service to others,” writes Baldwin. “This is our service to our community, our way of helping to make things better. We can’t think of anything more basic, more necessary, than providing food for those in need. And, it’s the best way I know to demonstrate servant-leadership in the community.”
Foodstock Charities began as a way for Baldwin’s band, Deeper Blues to commemorate the release of its first CD in 2008, Dig the Hole. In 2009, Foodstock is going national, with concerts scheduled in several cities.
As I write this, I am listening to Dig the Hole. Lane serves as chief songwriter, bassist, and vocalist of Deeper Blues. The songs are reminiscent of some of the very best of Stephen Stills’ blues-rock. [Longtime friends and family can attest to my now forty-year love affair with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young in their many different configurations, and of my concert visits to see them in the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s!] If you are in the mood for new blues music, I invite you to check out the Deeper Blues website at www.deeperblues.com.
|A talented writer on servant-leadership themes, I am pleased to include in this issue of Servant-Leader News an excerpt from a longer essay by Lane Baldwin titled, “Learning Servant-Leadership from Native America--Again.” Those who would like to read the entire essay may do so by clicking on the link below.|
Larry C. Spears, President & CEO
The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership
My dictionary defines “collaboration” thusly: “to labor, especially in literary pursuits, as the associate of another or others.” As an editor, and as an author, collaboration has been at the heart of my own work in servant-leadership for the past 20 years. Indeed, it is so much at the core of my own being that I have seldom felt the need to talk about it.
Since 1990, my personal commitment to servant-leadership and collaboration has led me to bring to the reading public the writings of nearly 200 authors through conscientiously and consistently seeking out new writings on servant-leadership, and then editing their writings for a great many publications: books, journals, newsletters, articles, and more. While the act of editing someone’s written work is sometimes a solitary act, it is always a collaborative one when understood as being part of a connected circle that involves authors, editors, designers, readers and others.
Even the process of editing, itself, can be a collaborative endeavor. Besides working with authors, I have had the great privilege of working on selected books and journals with a series of co-editors, including Hamilton Beazley, Julie Beggs, Paul Davis, Shann Ferch, Anne Fraker, Don Frick, Michele Lawrence, and George SanFacon.
The role of an editor is usually that of working with a living author; and, there is considerable satisfaction to be found in such collaborations. I have also had the rare experience of conceptualizing and editing numerous books by three deceased authors. In the instance of Robert K. Greenleaf, over the past two decades I created a series of five books from his unpublished and published writings, including On Becoming a Servant-Leader (1996), Seeker and Servant (1996), The Power of Servant-Leadership (1998), The 25th Anniversary Edition of Servant-Leadership (2002), and Seeker and Servant (2003). Over the years, tens of thousands of readers have been introduced to servant-leadership through these books, and all royalties on these and other books went to support The Greenleaf Center.
Recently, I had the experience of unearthing some previously unknown writings by my friend and mentor, Bill Bottum (Townsend & Bottum Family of Companies), who died in 2005; and to collaborate with George SanFacon and others in the creation of a forthcoming book of his writings. Simultaneously, I have also been involved in a collaboration with Paul Davis, in which we have gone through some 800 articles and speeches by the late business leader, John Donnelly (The Donnelly Corporation), who died in 1986. These books by Bill Bottum, and by John Donnelly, are both due out this year.
When editing the works of those who are no longer here with us, I have found that by immersing oneself in their writings, it is possible to develop a feeling of collaboration that is every bit as real as that of working with a living author. As I have reflected upon my involvement in the creation of seven books by Greenleaf, Bottum, and Donnelly, I have drawn strength from the discipline of faithfully representing their thoughts and ideas to others, when they are no longer able to do so.
In Old Age: The Ultimate Test of Spirit (Chapter 8, The Power of Servant-Leadership, 1998), Greenleaf wrote, “I have long pondered those lines with which Robert Browning opens his poem “Rabbi Ben Ezra”:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be;
The last of life for which the first was made.
For some of us, and especially for me, the last of life for which the first was made is inextricably linked to the idea of spirit and service to one another. It provides a deeper understanding of what it means to be a servant-leader.
It is an honor to labor on behalf of servant-leader authors, living and dead, and to help encourage readers of their works, for the greater good of others: Collaboratively.
Larry C. Spears, President & CEO
The Spears Center for Servant-Leadership
SERVANT LEADERSHIP CHARACTERISTICS FEATURED IN INC. WEBSITE ARTICLE (2/27/17)
GREENLEAF CENTRE UK HONORS LARRY SPEARS
LARRY SPEARS EDITS NEW BOOK ON FORTUITOUS ENCOUNTERS, PUBLISHED BY PAULIST PRESS.
GONZAGA UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL STUDIES HONORS WORLD’S FOREMOST SERVANT-LEADERSHIP SCHOLAR LARRY C. SPEARS