What are the characteristics of servant leadership?

Dan Hurt

October 24, 2022


Servant leadership is the practice of empowering people in a non-hierarchical way. This leadership prioritizes followers, emphasizes accountability and authenticity, and embraces innovation and change. It also embraces interpersonal acceptance and practices services and stewardship. In addition, servant leaders seek to understand their followers’ needs and concerns.


One of the essential characteristics of a servant leader is the ability to listen. Servant leaders strive to understand the feelings of others, and they often assume that others have the best intentions. Therefore, listening is an essential trait of a servant leader because it fosters trust, which can lead to improved work outcomes.

Unlike traditional leaders, servants don’t have a rigid schedule. They make time for their followers and are always willing to hear what others say. They take the time to understand the motives of others, as well as their own. They also support the mental and emotional well-being of others.


In servant leadership, empathy is a long-standing trait. Empathy involves being acutely aware of another person’s thoughts and feelings and expressing a deep understanding of what they are going through. Empathy can be a learned skill, or it can be cultivated through specific practices.

As a leader, empathy is essential to building a trusting environment and fostering relationships within the team. An empathetic environment fosters a sense of belonging and safety in employees. In addition, compassionate leaders work to encourage and inspire their team members to be the best version of themselves.


One of the primary goals of servant leadership is to promote emotional and physical well-being. This means that leaders must focus on the healing potential of team members. This generally means providing ample support for team members, appropriate healthcare facilities, and fostering a health and safety culture. In addition, servant leaders should practice self-development to enhance their well-being.

Healing relationships are one of the most potent forces in transformation. Servant leaders recognize opportunities to bring wholeness to people and restore broken relationships. In addition, they realize that the search for wholeness is a joint endeavor between them and the people they serve.


Whether you’re leading a small team or a large organization, you can develop yourself as a servant leader. Servant leaders are focused on the well-being of those around them, not on their own needs and desires. They also think about the future and its impact on future generations. Being a servant leader means being aware of the world and your inner being. As a result, you’ll be able to determine the impact of your actions and choices on people and organizations around you.

Regardless of your role, servant leadership requires a commitment to help people reach their full potential. To do this, you must encourage and support personal development, including ensuring that your employees are provided with opportunities for training and education. You can do this by providing funds to train your employees, providing them with books and courses, and actively listening to their suggestions.


Persuasion is one of the most critical aspects of servant leadership. This trait is essential for influencing people and teams and requires practice and discipline. Persuasion involves the ability to open a person’s mind to new possibilities. As a result, leaders can create a sense of unity and trust in teams by persuading others.

Servant leadership starts with a natural desire to serve others. The servant leader aspires to lead but always seeks to help. This is different from a leader who comes first but serves others. Being a servant means identifying the needs of others.


Conceptualization is a crucial characteristic of servant leadership. It involves developing an organizational vision and mission that employees can relate to and contribute to. This is a skill that requires practice and discipline. Unfortunately, traditional leaders often get caught up in short-term operational goals, constraining their ability to envision and conceptualize a more expansive and inclusive future. Boards of directors and trustees are essential in this process.

One of the first descriptions of servant leadership was given by Robert Greenleaf, a businessman and influential consultant. In the 1960s, he was employed by AT& T. He was a management research director and eventually retired in 1970. While working there, he became inspired by the company’s culture and realized that employees could be its greatest assets. His ideas on servant leadership grew into a seminal book called The Servant as Leader.