Date of Award

Winter 1-15-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Mindfulness Studies

First Advisor

Melissa Jean, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Andrew Olendzki, Ph.D.



Servant leadership exemplifies mindfulness precepts in a systems environment. Robert K. Greenleaf’s (1970/2008) servant leadership movement launched with his seminal essay, The Servant as Leader, in which he revealed an affinity with the philosophy of mindfulness. There is a commonality of language and behaviors that servant leadership shares with mindfulness principles. In addition, servant leadership’s aspiration for holistic member wellbeing reflects mindfulness teachings. The servant leadership hierarchical model upends traditional organization constructs, demonstrating a mindfulness view of community whereby the leader serves all rather than all serving the leader. This echoes Buddhist monastic communities in which power is shared yet structure is provided. Research reveals further connections of mindfulness to servant leadership that were unexpected: forgiveness, spirituality, and morality. Also cultural in mindfulness, servant leadership embraces acceptance of, being present with, and openheartedness toward others. This organizational culture scores highly in job satisfaction and employee retention matrices that indicate mindfulness principles as correlative. Current trends in organizational ethos well position servant leadership for 21st century systems. These trends reflect a societal will for inclusivity, collective power, and leaders who share an accepting and authentic self with the wisdom required for discernment and compassion.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.