What Is Servant Leadership?

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Leadership  looks different for everybody.

Some decide on a democratic style, where they make last decisions after getting input from team members. Some are individualists, focused on personal development and improvement, while others work as a coach functions to help employees create their skills and build strong teams.

Although different in practice, most leadership styles have in keeping that the leader is a force of expert at their company — entirely not the same as servant leadership, exactly where authority is intentionally left by the wayside.

In this post, find out about servant leadership, its main characteristics, and how it can benefit your organization.

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What is servant leadership?

Servant leadership could be the idea that a leader’s primary goal is to serve their workers and give them the particular support they need to create their skills plus succeed at their jobs. This differs from traditional leadership in that a leader doesn’t enforce their expert or treat other people as subordinates.

Robert K. Greenleaf first coined the term servant leader in his 1970 essay The Stalwart as Leader . In the essay,   he says  that the servant leader “Focuses primarily on the development and well-being of people and the communities that they belong” and that they “Put the needs more first and assist individuals develop and carry out as highly as is possible. ”

Essentially, the leader (a manager, CEO, or any type of executive at a business) exists to serve the people that work for the company. In turn, workers supported by a innovator with their best attention at heart are more inspired, empowered, high-performing, plus able to provide customers with the best possible experience.  

Servant Leadership Characteristics

In his essay, Greenleaf outlines ten basic principles of stalwart leadership, which we will discuss below.

servant leadership characteristics

1 ) Listening

Stalwart leaders must be great listeners. It helps all of them get to know the people basically for the business and exactly what they’re all about.

With listening, servant leaders will discover insight about employees that will assist them best assistance their needs, whether or not it’s understanding places for personal development or simply learning how employees feel at work and if anything needs to be carried out to improve their encounter.

2 . Sympathy

Servant commanders need to be empathetic  because it’s one of the best ways to help employees grow to be the best they can be.

For example , an employee might express a wish to develop a particular ability, and they want to really feel as though you’re hearing them and knowing their needs. Empathy helps with this, since you’ll be able to connect with their interest and ask further questions that help you help all of them move forward.

Empathy is also critical within servant leadership with regards to correcting behaviors. For instance , say that an employee could not meet a goal in late the quarter. With traditional leadership, you might tell the worker that they must carry out better without providing actionable advice that will assist them do so.

Instead, a servant leader would be understanding towards the situation and wish to understand the roadblocks that caused them to struggle. Of course , you’d still like to ensure that this wouldn’t happen again, but you’d function alongside the worker to guarantee they have the various tools to perform better plus meet their targets next quarter.

3. Healing

Greenleaf says that will servant leaders should understand the importance of recovery as people aren’t always used to working in circumstances where their leader doesn’t force their particular authority and require compliance.

A servant leader has to understand that they may need to work with employees to be comfortable with the process that a working environment that will builds trust and helps them be comfortable with your leadership style.

four. Self-awareness

Servant leaders must be self-aware because they need to understand their position and perception within their team. For example , if you’re enforcing your authority, you’re not a servant leader, and you’re likely pushing employees away. Therefore , it’s essential to be aware of the space you take up within your team on a day-to-day schedule.

Self-awareness will also help servant leaders realize their strengths and weaknesses when assisting employees as the best they can be. For example , if you receive suggestions that you’re not really the best at interacting, you should identify your own weakness and work to improve, as workers can’t succeed if they don’t understand you.

5. Marketing

Servant leaders use persuasion rather than power and specialist to influence their own teams and get everybody on the same page. You need to convince others and get buy-in without driving compliance or telling people that they can simply do something because you mentioned they have to.

6. Conceptualization

Conceptualization means that servant commanders can develop a path for their teams that will bring company achievement.

This key characteristic directly relates to other skills on this list. For example , assume a servant leader conceptualizes a goal intended for employees. In that case, they should be able to persuade without forcing compliance and supply employees with every thing they need to help actualize the goal and become there for them through the entire process.

7. Foresight

The Oxford Language Dictionary  defines foresight since the ability to predict or maybe the action of forecasting what will happen or be needed later on. With servant management, this means using historic performance and present objectives to anticipate future outcomes and what employees will need to help them succeed.

For example , if your groups have historically battled with a particular job and that task is required to meet an upcoming goal, your foresight need to let you know that you’d want to be present to help when employees take on that task, and maybe provide extra sources to ensure people don’t get stuck.

8. Stewardship

Stewardship is associated with accountability within servant leadership. The best choice can take responsibility for their actions and know how their support for their employees contributes to the overall performance of their teams.

9. Commitment to the Growth of individuals

Servant frontrunners want employees to be equipped with the tools plus resources they need to succeed and feel motivated to help the company be successful. As such, servant market leaders must be committed to the growth and development of people.

In practice, this can appear to be ensuring employees possess the proper training for their particular required duties, planning development opportunities, or even checking in with workers to understand their profession goals and figuring out how to help all of them get there.

ten. Building community

Workplace communities create a sense of trust and togetherness, which helps people feel like these are working together to meet a typical goal. As a stalwart leader, you’d want to ensure that your workplace seems like a community by building romantic relationships with others and encouraging people to build relationships with their coworkers.

As mentioned over, servant leadership will be significantly different from conventional leadership styles. The leader is not an authoritative force but more of a collaborator that works alongside employees to help them succeed. It might be helpful to have some examples of what servant management can look like for, so we’ll talk about some below.

Servant Leadership Illustrations

Leading simply by Example

A servant leader is usually willing to do anything that they ask their employees to do.

So , let’s say that employees are rushing to meet quotas for that month. Rather than educating employees to just work harder, a servant leader will sit down with them and help them get there. Maybe they take on some tasks, motivate workers, and provide actionable recommendations that helps them fulfill their targets.


A servant leader sits down with workers and asks them to share feedback regarding business processes and whether they help all of them perform their responsibilities. The servant chief actively listens to feedback, learns from what they’ve heard, and works to make necessary changes to assist employees seamlessly do their work.


The servant leader loves you about their employees as people. If someone comes to all of them and lets them know that they’re dealing with something, the stalwart leader doesn’t tell them to check their emotions at the door or even inform them that they don’t fall short of requirements.

Instead, they will work with the worker to develop a plan that will allow them to succeed regardless of what they’re dealing with.

Servant Management Can Help Companies Succeed

Although not the same as traditional styles, stalwart leaders can build motivated and able teams that succeed in business.

In case you are a leader looking to consider their hand with this leadership style, make sure that you understand who your own employees are as people, provide them with the various tools and support they have to succeed, and act as an ever-present source, no matter what they need .

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