On date 06/03/2017 together with some of my colleagues, we participated in the famous Purplestride Delaware 2017 5K run and family-friendly walk. The event, which took place at the Riverfront Wilmington – Lot E across the Westin hotel and Chase Center targeted volunteers from across the region who were passionate about fighting the pancreatic cancer. The main aim of the event was to increase awareness of this terrible disease and raise funds to support people who are currently fighting the disease. As a servant leader I saw this as a chance to stride for the families who have lost their loved ones in the cancer battle, the ones fighting, and those who will fight the disease in the future. The event helped me become a servant leader and to stand together in the battle against pancreatic cancer. By participating in this activity I had a chance to hone my existing leadership skills and gain a whole lot of new skills in alignment with the basic premise of learning theory. Most specifically, I gained a lot of relevant content in my area of expertise as a nurse leader both professionally and individually.

Servant leadership is a philosophy that encompasses several practices that target to enrich the lives of individuals a leader is serving, while creating a just and kind world to the community as well. According to Hill (2013), a servant leader must first realize the essence of becoming a servant first. Later they should allow their conscious self to get them aspire to lead others, which is what differentiates between a servant-leader and a leader-first. Most specifically, a servant-leader is the one who focuses on the needs, growth, and well-being of the people they are serving and the community they belong. Greenleaf, the man who articulated the term servant-leader also outlined the ten principles of a servant leadership. As a servant-leader volunteer, I focused on helping people affected by pancreatic cancer become better people emotionally, and in matters health. This way, I was able to utilize the principle of Commitment to the Growth of People living with pancreatic cancer and those who have lost their loved ones to the deadly disease. According to Harris, Roussel and Thomas, (2016), this principle of servant leadership expects leaders to believe that other people have an intrinsic value beyond their current worth. Therefore, as a servant-leader I had a responsibility towards the community to commit to the personal, spiritual, and health growth of the people. Along with that, the activity also taught me the value of building the community. My role as a nurse leader and a volunteer in the Purplestride walk was to enhance the effectiveness of patient outcome through raising funds and increasing awareness about pancreatic cancer to the community around. Harris et al. note that the principle gives leaders a keen awareness about the loss of connectedness when a community feels abandoned by those around them. in this regard, servant leaders should always be ready to seek ways to bring people together and make them feel appreciated and well taken care.

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According to Greenleaf and the Biblical passages referenced in different topic materials, power comes from giving away and leadership comes from taking the role of a servant. Through the Purplestride Delaware walk volunteer activity, I was able to understand the philosophy and practices of a servant leader. Precisely, the walk required people to dedicate their time and resources to participate in raising not only funds but also awareness and support for pancreatic cancer victims. By participating in the event, I was able to selflessly offer myself and my time to cover the 5K run and show the community that I together with other participants was empathetic about their situation and willingly to do as much to improve their current condition or that of their loved ones.

The more a leader serves other people, the more success and fulfillment they are likely to enjoy. This is the truth of humanity and holds true for the servant-leadership. As a nurse, I learned that it is important to lead by example by shifting the focus to ensure that others can successfully perform their duties by observing what I am doing. To achieve this effectively, I must shift my role to serving my patients and encouraging my teams through actions and not the other way. Moreover, the principles of a servant leadership have also taught me that leaders who adopt the servant leadership style gain a lot of respect and trust from their teams. The positive feeling later translates into a high sense of morale where employees are satisfied with their workplace, and productivity increases.

In an organization setting, leadership skills are often acquired through training that comprises of the traditional seminars, conferences, or online learning where participants are taught several leadership skills and theories, but limited time to practice or even observe others. One of the major drawbacks about exclusively relying on this approach is that learning is completed without applying the new skills to the real world situations. By participating in voluntary works, I not only received rewarding experiences but also an opportunity to evaluate my leadership skills and improve where necessary. Firstly, I learned that I have been right about encouraging teamwork among my colleagues, which is a great leadership skill and must always be emphasized. During the volunteer program, I was able to team with other participants to work towards the common goal of helping people affected by pancreatic cancer. As a servant leader this activity further helped me appreciate and embrace diversity, nurture mutual respect and acknowledge that cooperation with others is a much needed concept for success. Moreover, participating in the volunteer program has made me value my skills as I have always felt that a leader should also be ready to serve for the well-being and growth of the people surrounding them. It also instilled in me a passionate feeling about excelling in the duties as a leader and gave me an appetite to even develop my skills further.

As a nurse leader, I have a responsibility towards my teams, colleagues, and patients as well. In addition, in line of duty, it is easy to focus only on the success at my workplace and forget about the outside community and my personal life. Firstly, through the principles of servant leadership I understand that the people I lead, have lives outside the workplace. As a leader, failure to respect this balance could push employees to resentment and regrets, which can greatly affect the productivity of the organization. Effectively taking care of my teams should not difficult when I am a servant-leader. In fact, it is one of the most simple, easy and free tasks, which matter most to the success of the organization. Things such as enquiring about a member’s previous illness and how they are feeling, listening to their reasons why they are late or why they delayed on doing something are some of the things that the leadership principles have taught me to help improve my relationship with my teams. Besides, when my colleagues are experiencing a time of need it is important to show concern and care for them, as the memory will always be fresh. By doing all this and much more for my teams, the concept of a servant-leadership will be captured and the assertion by Greenleaf that my success is your success will be realized.


Harris, J. L., Roussel, L., & Thomas, P. L. (2016). Initiating and sustaining the clinical nurse leader role: A practical guide.Burlignton, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Hill, G. (2013). Servantship: Sixteen servants on the four movements of radical servantship. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock.

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