Traditional definitions of leadership limit leadership to “a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal [9].” Other definitions open the definition of leadership up to include one-on-one situations. HKI-SLAM broadens the definition of leadership further to include self-leadership, but then narrows it ethically.

HKI-SLAM definition of leadership:

“Leadership is a service aimed at ethically satisfying the needs of self, others, groups, communities, systems, and environments.” – Po Chung 2011


Traditional definitions of service generally limit service to work done by one person or group for the benefit of another. HKI-SLAM broadens the definition of service to include reflection-in and reflection on-practice plus purposeful effort one undertakes to improve her ability to ethically satisfy her needs and the needs of others. 

HKI-SLAM definition of service:

“Service is work done to benefit others and includes self-development efforts aimed at ethically improving one’s competencies, abilities, and willingness to help satisfy the needs of others.” – Po Chung 2011


Building off of HKI-SLAM’s definitions of service and leadership, HKI-SLAM proposes the following definition of service leadership and of a service leader.

HKI-SLAM definition of service leadership:

“Service leadership is about satisfying needs by consistently providing quality personal service to everyone one comes into contact with, including one’s self, others, groups, communities, systems, and environments. 

A Service Leader is a ready, willing and able, on-the-spot socialized entrepreneur who possesses relevant task competencies and is judged by superiors, peers, subordinates, and followers to exhibit appropriate character strengths and a caring social disposition.” – Po Chung 2011



Northouse, P.G., 2009. Leadership: Theory and Practice (5th Ed., p. 3). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.