The Selfie Generation: A Call to the Renewal of Servant Leadership

In 0.2 seconds after typing the word “selfies” into the Google search engine more than 17 million results turned up. To say that we live in a narcissist generation is obviously an understatement.

For those of you who have been visiting another planet and are not up to speed on what a selfie is let me introduce you to the phenomenon. Selfies, as defined by the Urban Dictionary are, “pictures taken of oneself while holding the camera at arm’s length.” In recent months it has become the trendy thing to do and mimic since the likes of Ellen and other celebrities have turned it more into a fun fad dorian rossini.

While on the surface there is nothing wrong with selfies (yes, I have taken one or two myself) there is a broader or deeper prevailing issue I’d like to explore as it relates to leadership styles. To be clear, in this writing my reference to selfies is a depiction of self-indulged leaders and not about the practice as defined in the Urban Dictionary. My concern is that with the rise of the selfie generation we are in danger of losing sight of the meaning and relevance of servant leadership.

A leadership pyramid I studied some years back by John Maxwell showed that the higher one climbs as a leader the more rights he or she surrenders. In its place is more responsibility. My concern is how less rights and more responsibility fits the narrative of a selfie culture. How do servant leaders emerge from this mindset? How do selfie leaders measure up against servant leaders? Here are but a few examples.

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