Servant Leadership: Theory & Practice


Shepherding is one of humanity’s oldest known occupations, dating back thousands of years (Leman & Pentak, 2004). Yet, within the way of a shepherd lies hidden leadership treasures, which are especially valuable for parents, caregivers, and teachers during and after COVID-19. Shepherd leadership is a specific form of servant leadership. Although there are many similarities between shepherd leadership and servant leadership, theoretical or empirical studies of shepherd leadership are far behind servant leadership. The most referenced texts of shepherds and shepherd leadership can be found in the Bible. This paper examines the thinking, doing, and being of shepherds and the practical applications—guiding, providing, and protecting—of shepherd leadership to modern-day living. Multiple analyses of the Davidic Psalm 23 provide examples and illustrations of shepherd leadership principles. The current global pandemic is causing psychological, emotional, mental, and social effects on children (Ghosh et al., 2020; Ritz et al., 2020; United Nations, 2020). When country leaders and governments work hard to provide medical care for patients and vaccines for citizens, those who are parents, caregivers, and teachers can shepherd their children through the valley of the shadow of death and arrive at the tableland for enjoyment and pleasure. It is argued that shepherd leadership can be adopted by parents, caregivers, and teachers who serve the needs of children during and after COVID-19.