Servant-leaders are functionally superior because they are closer to the ground — they hear things, see things, know things, and their intuitive insight is exceptional. Because of this they are dependable and trusted.
–Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant Leadership Style

We’ve mentioned Servant Leadership in the past and feel that it needs to be discussed again.

The term servant leadership was coined in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf, and some describe it as being the reverse of traditional leadership. It’s where the needs of the people/employees/colleagues are viewed as priorities, and it means replacing the dictatorial and drill sergeant types of leadership styles and behaviors (that were so prevalent in the past) with “people” and “relationship” skills. It also includes a focus on helping others grow.

Carol Smith wrote an article where she compiled research regarding servant leadership entitled The Leadership Theory Of Robert K. Greenleaf.  In it she highlights 20 characteristics and attributes critical to servant leadership (excerpts below):

9 Functional Attributes (defined as intrinsic characteristics of servant-leaders):

  1. Vision
  2. Honesty
  3. Integrity
  4. Trust
  5. Service
  6. Modeling
  7. Pioneering
  8. Appreciation
  9. Empowerment

11 Accompanying Attributes

  1. Communication
  2. Credibility
  3. Competence
  4. Stewardship
  5. Visibility
  6. Influence
  7. Persuasion
  8. Listening
  9. Encouragement
  10. Teaching
  11. Delegation

It’s interesting that so many of these attributes are included in the Leadership Journey and in our COMPASS assessment! Our belief is that strong and effective leadership means building relationships with others, it means being genuinely interested in those we interact with, it means being committed to continual learning (for ourselves and others), and it means creating a work culture of trust and inclusiveness.

Are you a servant leader? How are you helping others grow and thrive in their career? Could you do more? 


Mike and Jan

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.

~Mahatma Gandhi

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