Servant Leadership and their 9 Characteristics

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servant leadership

You might have heard about servant leadership. If you are listening to this word the first time you may find it weird or strange but we explore this word in an incoming blog.

So, this word can consist of two words one is servant and one is leadership. What kind of words comes to your mind when you hear servants? It may be followership, it may be taking the command or it may be understanding the command.

When we talk about leadership what kind of words are coming into your mind. There will be many things like good communication skills, good listening skills, motivation, inspiration, clear goals, and decision making.

There’s been a lot of studies over the years on servant leadership. We’ll talk a little bit about History who’s studied the philosophy of a servant leader.


History Of Servant Leadership

History Of Servant Leadership

Over the past decade, this style of leadership has gotten a lot of attention in the 1970s.

Greenleaf was most famous for helping us understand what a servant leader is. I want to read a quote that says servant leadership begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve and to serve first.

Then conscious choice begins to bring one to aspire to lead. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant.

So I love that quote from Greenleaf. I mean it epitomizes the fact that leaders actions help get significant results. So that kind of is what we call the litmus test if you think your leader.

You recognise who you’re serving, Are they benefiting? Are they ending up better than before you engage in your leadership activities so something to think about?

Characteristic of servant leadership

Spears took the philosophy of servant leadership and identified 10 characteristics. I want to share those with you as I love these characteristics.

Double-dog dares you to try to punch a hole in any of these because I think that these qualities of a leader help move the organization forward from a leader who helps one person at a time.

So, the first thing on Spears’s list is that


Listening Servant Leadership

It is an important characteristic. It’s about acknowledging the viewpoints of followers and validating those perspectives. you know it’s not making people wrong.

It’s really about listening and helping recognize that everybody has wisdom. So listening is how Speers recommends that servant leaders are effective.


You know standing in the shoes of another person and attempting to see the world from that person point of view.

So it’s about feeling what other people feel and that piece of empathy is in the success literature everywhere


Healing is helping followers become whole servant leaders are themselves healed so we all have the gift to be able to influence other people’s way of being and taking time to heal other people as a leader is help us get direct results you know we all can make a difference in people’s lives if we choose to do it but going above and beyond being a manager and being a healer in people’s lives help us have more Influence and help us grow too.


Understanding oneself and the impact one has on another so when we talk about emotional intelligence we need to recognize that our actions affect other people and so having awareness is an important characteristic of being a servant leader.

Awareness of Servant Leadership


Every leader needs to be able to persuade people and servant leader do it through gentle non-judgemental arguments so being persuasive is not about arguing being persuasive. It is about being gentle being non-judgemental allowing people to decide on their own but helping them see things differently


The ability to be a visionary for the organization. You know leaders need to be thinking ahead and when they can help make the organisation stronger through recognizing. What needs to be done to meet future outcomes, that’s a skill that not everybody has but is required to be an effective leader.


The ability to project what is coming up based on what is occurring in the present and also what happened in the past. So very important to have foresight.


Carefully managing the people and organizations that need to be let you know holding the organization and trust for the greater good of society. So being a steward is important. You know taking responsibility and making sure that you are managing people most effectively.

The growth of people is important to help your people to be very good so that they can recognize their unique talents and strengths and help them continue to grow and in those strengths, that’s what helps make your organization stronger.

Building community

Building community

I often talk about building your network but recognizing that the more that you are allowed followers to identify with the organization and see themselves as adding value to that organization. That’s when you know that a great leader is effective. So really building community helps people recognize their strength and how what they do makes a positive difference.

So there are lots of other characteristics that over the last couple of decades we have been studying that we’ve been connecting with characteristics of servant leaders in the late 1990s.

We recognize the developing people sharing leadership displaying authenticity truly valuing people providing leadership and building community are great characteristics of servant leaders empowering people giving trust of having humility. /You know brotherly love, vision, altruistic leadership, you know heeling people emotionally, being stewards of the organisation and giving wisdom is an important characteristic.

So forgiving people have courage. you know having accountability you know making sure that you’re stepping back and allowing other people to lead when they have things that they can contribute.

You know and being responsible in the most moral way is important and empowering people to give their very best when they have something to give you. These are great characteristics of what great servant leaders do.

Context and culture of servant leadership

All organizations have their own culture and subculture that we need to be aware of our leader attribute. We also need to recognize that to be leaders we have to have followers.

So they need to be receptive to our leadership. we need to empower people at the right time.

You know the great value at all-time healing people emotionally one-minute help followers grow and succeed. Make sure that everyone including ourselves as leaders are behaving ethically.

The result of doing so is that people want to perform, they want to go with the organization and are seen as a leader in their field.

When they are performing as individuals in the organization and make the organization stronger and above all else, the organization is making an impact positively on society.

So this philosophy of being a servant leader is so important. You know we have to recognize where we want the organization to go. We need to help people get there. People can do this and no matter how hard the job description is.

We can do this no matter what our title is but it’s really about doing the right thing the right way and that’s called being ethical.

It’s about making good decisions and helping people make good decisions. Finding ways to support people is absolutely a key attribute of the most effective leaders.

So I know that I have given you a lot but essentially we need to recognize that servant leadership is about altruism.

It’s about really helping make the organization stronger by serving followers recognizing that kind of support makes the organization stronger.


No matter what level of the organization that a leader leads in he or she can affect other people in a way that makes the organization stronger but that’s a huge responsibility.

It takes a little bit of humility to take aside your title and be able to recognize that you gain strength as a leader and have more influence when you’re bringing people up.

So, serving people helps get better results and recognizing even the body of the organization can and wants to be a positive contributor. 

It takes a wise leader to know how to serve people the right way.

Also read our blog on Six Ways to build communication skills


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