Servant leadership and host leadership

14 Jan

I am often asked about the differences between ‘servant leadership’ – the pioneering work based on Robert K Greenleaf’s metaphor of leaders as servant to their community – and ‘host leadership’.

On a straightforward level, of course, they are different metaphors.  I would say that serving is a key part of the work of a host, and hosts have a great focus on providing for their guests.  However, there is more to hosting than service.  A host can stand up and make key decisions about what kind of thing they’d like to host, who might be invited, what would be a good space, and so on.  My paper (which you can download FREE at describes the host as acting above a spectrum which leads from hero to servant.

I see the host metaphor as building on the servant metaphor and offering ways to expand it and make a different (and perhaps more accessible) sense of it.


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