Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership: Definition, Elements And Characteristics

Leadership 5 Mins Read
published on: 02 September 2023 last updated on: 04 November 2023

An organization runs because of the joint efforts of its employees and management. No company can ever be termed successful if there is a lack of either of the factors within its operations. Let’s Get Familiar witn the idea of Servant Leadership.

Therefore, it is not just the management that has to perform efficiently, but also the management. Both their efforts go hand in hand. That way, there is always a balance and a smooth flow of work within the organization. 

Therefore, the organizations have adopted multiple management styles in order to get the best out of their teams. The correct styles will help in building trust, motivating teams, and generating results. 

With that being said, the best management strategies depend on what the goals of your organization are and what leadership style you follow. If you wish to work towards the betterment of your organization or influence your employees to make an impact, servant leadership might just be the right choice for you. 

So, without any further delay, let us now explore the concept of servant leadership and discuss in detail its characteristics and features. We will also be diving deep into some of the examples of servant leadership to justify more how it can be just as effective for your organization and how you can incorporate it into your leadership training process.

Read More: Shared Leadership: Characteristics, Benefits, Challenges [Tips & Tricks]

What Can Be Described As Servant Leadership? 

The servant leadership style operates on the idea that a leader gives more priority to serving the greater good. Leaders who follow the servant leadership style serve their organization and team first.

They don’t believe in prioritizing their own objectives. 

Employees belonging to a servant leadership atmosphere tend to feel that their voices are heard more. This makes them apparently 4.6% more keen on putting the best of their abilities to work. 

Basically, the concept of servant leadership was initially coined in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf in his essay “The Servant as Leader.” The concept of it formulates the idea that leaders must prioritize serving for the greater good.  

Leaders who are driven by the servant leadership concept will always prioritize the objectives of the organization over the objectives of their own. 

Servant leadership looks forward to achieving its vision by catering to the employees. In return, it lets the employees learn and grow and bring their own expertise and vision to the table. 

Elements Of Servant Leadership 

Elements Of Servant Leadership

There are four elements that serve as the foundation of servant leadership. The elements are empathy, flexibility, listening, and stewardship. Each of these elements is beneficial to improve your leadership skills and is crucial for the success of your organization. 

Let us now learn about the four major elements of servant leadership in more detail. 


Empathy is a well-appreciated workplace skill that helps leaders comprehend and communicate better with other employees. Not only that, it is also one of the most prominent elements of the servant leadership concept, which is a leadership style that emphasizes supporting and serving others. 

More precisely, empathy means putting yourself in the position of others. You would never understand what the other person is going through unless you have put yourself in their shoes. Having a good understanding of what the other person is probably feeling or going through will help you make better decisions for the team. 


Servant or not, every great leader must customize their leadership style to suit the current circumstances pertaining to the organization. They also have a vast repertoire of skills. 

While these are the skills that a good leader must have, it does not mean that exercising these skills will only help you become a successful leader. 

A leader may be flexible in multiple ways, but it is necessary to recognize the diversity of the types. Flexibility is an essential element behind the success of an organization. It allows the leaders to change their approaches to fit the needs of the team and helps in maintaining a more nuanced state of understanding of the team. 

Flexibility can turn out to be extremely valuable at a time when complexity arises. 


A good leader must always be a good listener. As such, good listening skills play a vital element in servant leadership. By listening, a leader gets necessary insights into the minds of others.

Listening is a learned skill, and it is imperative that a good leader is a good listener, too. 


The term stewardship usually takes you straight to someone who takes care of the finances of others. However, stewardship is a lot more than only a financial concept. 

A steward is responsible for creating an environment that promotes growth and innovation. They do this by building positive relationships with their employees and by helping them learn and effectively achieve their goals. 

Characteristics Of Servant Leadership 

Now that I have spoken a lot about servant leadership, how effective it is for organizations, and how it caters to workplace positivity. But have you wondered what exactly servant leadership looks like? 

Well, in that case, let me break down the characteristic features of servant leadership. There are the characteristics as follows: 

  • Teamwork 
  • A satisfied club of employees
  • Easy adaptability 
  • Motivation 
  • Transparency in communication 
  • Authenticity 
  • Accountability 

Examples Of Servant Leadership 

Servant leadership, as new as it may seem, is a far-fetched concept. However, there are times when you may as well get confused as to where to begin. 

There are multiple ways by which you can initiate the concept of servant leadership within the organization. Humility, for example, is one such step that helps promote servant leadership. In fact, humility must always be the foundation of your leadership strategy. 

Your actions must not be so superior that your employees do everything out of fear.

Other examples of how you can start practicing servant leadership within the organization are showing the purpose and awareness of why the work is essential, encouraging building communities and commitment, supporting the growth and development of the team, and showing empathy and compassion towards the other members of the team.

Read More: Effective Leadership: How To Be A Better Leader & Why Is It Important?

The Bottom Line 

Servant leadership is mentioned within the pages of history and is one of the most successful leadership strategies to lead an organization. 

It makes the working environment healthy and makes all employees feel like their presence is actually appreciated within the organization. 

It is proved that organizations that have taken up the servant leadership style have experienced more employee satisfaction and growth than the organizations that have not.

Read More:


Leadership Styles Servant Leadership

Upasana is a budding journalist who has a keen interest in writing. She considers writing as therapeutic and is most confident when she writes. She is passionate about music, movies and fashion. She writes in a way that connects with the audience in a personal level. She is optimistic, fun loving and opinionated.

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