Many people are talking about servant leadership these days. So, what is servant leadership anyway?
Servant leadership is a powerful approach to achieving common goals in which the leader acts to serve those who are led.
Servant leadership is distinguishable from other leadership approaches in two principle ways:
- First, servant-leaders place special emphasis on the well-being of their followers and the development of their full capacities.
- Second, Servant-leaders measure their personal success by the benefits their leadership brings to their followers, their organizations and society as a whole.
Servant leaders exhibit humility, generosity and foresight. They are strongly mission-driven, and they achieve superior results.
Servant leadership is grounded in a deep desire to serve others. Robert K. Greenleaf, the founder of the modern servant leadership movement, says “The great leader is seen as servant first, and that simple fact is the key to such greatness.”
Since his time, research in neuroscience and evolutionary biology has only confirmed this notion. The research reveals that the desire to serve is hardwired into human beings. New studies in behavioral economics show that serving behavior may be the best way to achieve success in modern culture. When we ask, “What is servant leadership?” we’re really looking to satisfy what is inherent in ourselves; we are embedded with the sense that serving is the way forward.
Some companies use the terms “servant leader” and “servant leadership” to describe great leadership as they see it. Some use other terms, while others use no term at all. Regardless, practitioners of servant leadership agree: It doesn’t much matter what we call it. It matters that we do it.
“It’s not a goal of narrow self-interest. It’s a goal of improved lives for a wide audience—employees, customers, vendors, shareholders and those in communities where the company operates. Servant-leaders see the common good and serve it. They measure their individual success by the success of those they serve.” — Joe Iarocci
If you’d like to learn more about servant leadership, we have lots of resources available to you, including servant leadership quotes from great leaders, with more being developed every week.