Executive Education

Servant Leadership: A Path to High Performance

In today's fast-changing business world, your behavior as a leader can make or break an organization. Many of today's highest performing organizations are led by executives who defy the stereotype of their positions. These leaders roll up their sleeves, they "walk their talk," and they genuinely care for their employees, customers and suppliers. In short, they are servant leaders. This resurging leadership model is proving time after time to not only work, but to yield some of the most extraordinary and meaningful results.

Read Darden Professor Ed Hess’ article “Servant Leadership” in The Washington Post Capital Business.

Program Overview

Servant Leadership is a deeply insightful, personal and intensive course for senior executives on a values-based leadership model leveraged by some of the most successful organizations today. During the one-week program held at the Darden School, participants:

  • Explore, adopt and apply servant leadership principles in the context of their personal situations and workplaces - including learning how to create an environment that spurs excellence.
  • Benefit from group sessions and individual coaching with three of Darden's top-ranked professors, with collective experience in leadership, strategy and ethics.
  • Begin a process of deep, personal change that will transform their teams and ultimately drive greater organizational success.

"This program gives you the theories, knowledge and tools to help you invite, include and inspire your colleagues every day."
Monica Rigney
Director, Leadership & Professional Development
Pitney Bowes Inc.

"Servant leadership is about developing a bridge of language and actions to connect the gap between knowing and doing."
Bryan Barton
General Sales Manager
Sewell of Plano

"This course is a 'must attend' if you care about becoming a better leader."
David Clay
Director, Training and Development, HQ
U. S. Army Training and Doctrine Command


Leaders and practicing senior managers who have the authority and inspiration to translate corporate strategy into effective operational performance and represent:

  • Private and public companies
  • Not-for-profits
  • NGOs
  • Educational systems
  • Health care systems


Edward D. Hess

Professor of Business Administration and Batten Executive-in-Residence
During his nearly 40 years in the business world, Hess has studied numerous high-performance organizations (and their leaders), including UPS, Starbucks, Ritz-Carlton, Whole Foods, Home Depot, Best Buy and the United States Marine Corps, to name a few. An award-winning author of 10 books, he is frequently cited and consulted for his expertise in business growth and strategy.

Faculty Bio Page

Alexander B. Horniman

Killgallon Ohio Art Professor of Business Administration and Senior Fellow at the Olsson Center for Applied Ethics
Horniman has been training ethical, mindful leaders for more than 45 years. He has inspired thousands to think differently about how they lead and influence others. A behavioral psychology and leadership specialist, he is the founding director of Darden's Olsson Center for Applied Ethics and has prior experience in the military and aviation industry.

Faculty Bio Page

S. Venkataraman

MasterCard Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty and Research
An internationally renowned scholar and educator in the field of entrepreneurship, "Venkat" also teaches ethics and strategy. He consults with Fortune 500 firms and advises companies, universities and governments on strategy. The faculty director of The Executive Program, Darden's flagship advanced management course, he began his career as co-founder of a successful Indian technology spinoff.

Faculty Bio Page


Andrew C. Wicks

Ruffin Professor of Business Administration; Director, Darden Olsson Center for Applied Ethics; Director, Darden Doctoral Program
Co-author of three books and dozens of cases and journal articles, Wicks is an expert in corporate social responsibility and ethics. His research focuses on stakeholder responsibility, total quality management, trust, and ethics and entrepreneurship. An academic adviser for the Business Roundtable Institute for Corporate Ethics, Wicks also serves as an adjunct professor at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at U.Va.

Faculty Bio Page


Key Takeaways

  • A personal map for becoming a more effective leader, with an expanded definition of what that means
  • An action plan to transform your organization by pursuing optimal performance through serving others
  • Inspiring exemplars (case studies)
  • Understanding of the relationship between values, emotions, behaviors and high employee engagement
  • Understanding of your personal good and bad leadership behavior and views, including insights on how to change the bad and build on the good
  • Knowledge of what your workers really want from you, how to build deeper relationships with them and the importance of putting direct reports first


  • The Nine "Secrets" of High-Performance Organizations
  • Good Intentions Are Not Enough: Leadership Is Behavior
  • Engagement for Success
  • Good People, Bad Outcomes
  • High-Performance Harmony
  • Business Purpose and Executive Purpose
  • Obedience and Authority
  • Change? How?


Program activities include:

  • Relevant case studies of top-performing companies
  • Integrated workshops for auditing your own organization and examining your existing attitudes, beliefs and behaviors
  • Personal reflection on how each day's learning applies to you, resulting in the creation of leadership change plans
  • Team experiences, including small team and group conversations
  • One-on-one faculty coaching sessions and feedback
  • Speakers and individual stories


  • Day one kickoff reception and dinner
  • Daily sessions + meals at the Darden School
  • Evenings spent in group discussion and/or individual preparation
  • Final day session + lunch

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  • Course Information

    1-6 November 2015

    Image for EE Register Here
    $8,900 covers materials, meals and accommodations at the Inn at Darden.

    Leaders who seek to translate corporate strategy into effective operational performance.

    Gain one week of credit toward a Certificate of Specialization

    Darden School of Business
    Charlottesville, Virginia

    Additional Information:
    +1-434-924-3000 or contact the program director.