10 Principles of Servant Leadership


What is servant leadership?

A framework for leadership known as “servant leadership” places an emphasis on what a leader can bring to their organization and community. An accomplished businessman, researcher, and consultant by the name of Robert K. Greenleaf wrote an essay titled “The Servant as a Leader” in 1970. This article presents 10 suggestions that can assist leaders in concentrating on offering assistance and attending to the needs of their teams, which is a central tenet of the servant leadership philosophy.

Researchers have linked innovation, strong working relationships, and servant leadership attitudes with higher employee retention. These results can also be related to a company’s organizational structure, and servant leadership is typically more effective in more democratic organizations.

Principles of servant leadership

Typically, more democratic or decentralized organizations benefit from servant leadership. Since servant leaders put their team members first, they perform at their best when they collaborate with them to set goals and make crucial decisions. If you’re interested in learning more about this leadership framework, you might want to read Greenleafs’ article. Here are some additional details about each principle to help you get started and to support your learning and development:


Greenleaf asserts that effective leaders engage in active listening by enquiring about and initially attempting to understand their team members. This can help arm you with the knowledge you need to support their success, which frequently leads to the success of the business. For instance, you could demonstrate to a team member that you want to understand what they are saying by using responsive body language and asking clarifying questions.


An essential component of servant leadership is comprehending the emotions of others and the reasons behind those emotions. By doing so, managers can better understand their teams and provide for them. According to Greenleaf, this holds true even if you are enacting corrective measures and you might disagree with or reject their actions while still respecting their humanity. Think about responding to team members’ communications and contributions in a way that demonstrates empathy.


According to Greenleaf, for a team to be effective, each member must be “whole” on an individual and group level. Servant leaders create environments that promote each person they lead’s physical, mental, and emotional health. In your team-building activities, for instance, and in your conversations with people, try emphasizing healing and wholeness.


According to Greenleaf, effective servant leaders can take stock of their own beliefs and actions and understand how they may affect others. This can improve leaders’ capacity to enthuse and motivate their teams, which can support organizational effectiveness. Consider taking periodic breaks to consider your choices and actions in a journal or over a conversation with a dependable coworker or mentor.


Servant leaders hardly ever follow rigid rules or work in a hierarchical manner. Instead, they employ persuasion to persuade others to support their decisions and take appropriate action. When presenting ideas to your team, try using rhetorical devices such as appeals to authority, emotion, and logic


Conceptualization in servant leadership is the process of identifying broad-based organizational problems and developing solutions. By directing their teams in accordance with their organization’s mission and values, conceptually strong leaders benefit their organizations. They frequently play a crucial role in the creation of those mission and values statements, assessing them as necessary and revising them as appropriate. Consider using brainstorming techniques to determine each project’s scope.


Foresight is the ability to interpret past events and apply those interpretations to current circumstances. Foresight is valued by servant leadership because it can enable teams to handle particular problems as they arise. According to Greenleaf, intuition can also play a role in foresight, so it’s important to pay attention to that sense as well. Consider using note-taking techniques or mindfulness exercises to reflect critically on the past and use it as a resource in the present.


According to Greenleaf, each organization’s constituent bears some accountability for the stewardship of the entity. This implies that every member, regardless of type or rank, can contribute to the group’s overall goal. Stewardship also entails understanding the connection between one’s personal and communal values and acting in accordance with that understanding for the benefit of all parties. To help emphasize the significance of each person involved, think about implementing formal leadership feedback processes or organization-wide brainstorming sessions, for example.

Commitment to the growth of people

Servant leadership emphasizes the intrinsic value of each team member. Therefore, servant leaders typically think it’s important to encourage the development of their followers. Effective servant leaders frequently accomplish this by focusing on the learning requirements of each individual and either providing or encouraging appropriate professional development opportunities. Try providing opportunities for in-person or online training on subjects chosen by management or by the team members themselves. If at all possible, take steps like subsidizing college course tuition into consideration.

Building community

Another fundamental principle of servant leadership is to give team members the chance to foster community and camaraderie. Building a sense of community recognizes the intrinsic worth of team members and can improve their performance by making them feel appreciated. Regularly hosting team-building exercises can help your team feel more connected. Events like retreats, barbecues, and group outings can help people feel more connected to one another. Creating a welcoming environment for effective teamwork can also help to foster a sense of community within your organization.


What are the four main principles of servant leadership?

4 Principles of Servant Leadership
  • Encourage diversity of thought. Diversity encompasses a myriad of traits.
  • Create a culture of trust. Once broken, trust is one of the most difficult things to repair.
  • Have an unselfish mindset. It’s not about you. …
  • Foster leadership in others.

What are the 10 principles of servant leadership?

This article looks at ten traits of the servant leader that are extremely significant. They include listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, responsibility for others’ well-being, and community building.

What are servant leadership 5 must have principles?

Greenleaf’s ideas were condensed into ten key servant leadership qualities by author and philosopher Larry Spears in 1998: listening, empathy, stewardship, foresight, persuasion, conceptualization, awareness, healing, commitment to the growth and development of people, and community building.

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