Sara Kay reviews Omar L. Harris, The Servant Leader’s Manifesto

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Kay, Sara. Review of The Servant Leader’s Manifesto by Omar L. Harris. Homeland Security Affairs 18, Article 8

An astounding number of books have been written about leadership. Yet bad leaders abound. A homeland security practitioner could be forgiven for wondering whether it’s a worthwhile pursuit to read yet another leadership tome. Luckily, The Servant Leader’s Manifesto isn’t a tome. True to its title, it is manifesto length. The time investment is short and the payoff rewarding.

Written by the author of Leader Board: The DNA of High-Performance Teams, Omar Harris, The Servant Leader’s Manifesto explains the why and how behind the servant leader approach to leadership, in just under 100 pages. Harris’s efficient book draws on lessons from a range of trusted leadership books, such as Start With Why by Simon Sinek, Good to Great by Jim Collins, and How Full is Your Bucket by Donald O. Clifton to explore the positive psychology model of leadership. In the servant leadership approach, support of the employee and the customers they serve is the most important organizational goal. Good servant leaders leverage influence over authority, focus on the team over individuals, and lead with love. The Servant Leader’s Manifesto discusses each servant leader approach pillar in economical chapters “without unnecessary fluff” in the words of one CHDS Executive Leaders Program student.

The Servant Leader’s Manifesto isn’t for everyone. Proponents of the Jack Welch style of vitality-curve-leadership or the traditional top-down leadership style often equated with military organizations may find the servant leadership model too mushy for their liking (let the “leading with love” eye-rolls commence). However, we are in an age where employees across sectors are disaffected and multiple disciplines within homeland security are experiencing catastrophic declines in recruiting and retainment of employees. This is a time for new approaches to leadership to drive employee satisfaction and engagement.

About the Author

Sara Kay is the Director of the Executive Leaders Program at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security. The views in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Naval Postgraduate School or the United States Government.


Copyright © 2022 by the author(s). Homeland Security Affairs is an academic journal available free of charge to individuals and institutions. Because the purpose of this publication is the widest possible dissemination of knowledge, copies of this journal and the articles contained herein may be printed or downloaded and redistributed for personal, research or educational purposes free of charge and without permission. Any commercial use of Homeland Security Affairs or the articles published herein is expressly prohibited without the written consent of the copyright holder. The copyright of all articles published in Homeland Security Affairs rests with the author(s) of the article. Homeland Security Affairs is the online journal of the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).

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