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Servant Leadership Definition And Characteristics

Servant Leadership

My Story with Servant Leadership

I began learning about ITIL v3 in 2008, when I first started taking classes online. Since then, my focus has switched from developing software to managing teams and establishing policies and procedures.
While researching management and leadership, I came across the term “servant leadership,” which resonated with me. A book by Robert K. Greenleaf, “Servant Leadership,” helped me grasp this.
In this respect, I didn’t see much of a movement. Even so, I began to wonder whether a “role” of servant leadership would be appropriate in our organization. In 2010, I got my first job working for a large construction firm managing a variety of large-scale projects. When I first started working at the firm, I was able to witness a lot of managers and “leaders,” but I had no clue how servant leaders behaved or operated.
After reading the book, I attempted to put what I learned to good use, but I didn’t succeed as a servant leader that time. Maybe because of a lack of experience, bad luck, or anything else, I am not sure. Managers, on the other hand, urged me to be a fighter! I did’nt know who or what to fight?!

Following my resignation, I was able to figure out what I should have been fighting for!
Anyway, I lost that job and forgot all about servant leadership.

During the epidemic in 2020, I decided to renew my ITIL certification and get the ITIL4 MPT; ITIL4 emphasized servant leadership. So, I’m thinking about it again, and it’s possible that something went wrong with the implementation that time.
The same principle is stressed again in 2022, when I started learning to be a Professional Scrum Master I, and I believe I am back; I will discuss this topic today in my essay, as well as why it is difficult to execute such concepts in some Middle Eastern companies.

What Is Servant Leadership?

“Servant leadership” has been around for 50 years, but it’s still popular. Multiple studies have linked servant-led firms to better workplace results, employee retention, and leadership training and development.

Servant leadership is a style and philosophy of leadership in which a person works with others, either as a manager or as a coworker, to gain authority rather than power. The system has a structure with no one person in charge. Leaders who use this style involve the people who work with customers in making business decisions.


  • The goal of servant leadership is to make the relationship between management and employees less about controlling things and more about working together.
  • Another goal of servant leadership is to help others learn how to be leaders.
  • There are times when servant leadership doesn’t work. To make quick decisions about life and death, a military commander must be in charge of everything.
  • In environments with servant leadership, the person in charge tries to encourage new ideas, give employees more power, and make sure everyone is safe.
  • This style of leadership requires people to have traits like empathy, listening, being a good steward, and caring about the personal growth of others.

What is serving as a leader?

How Servant Leadership Actually Performs

Servant leadership focuses less on “controlling activities” and more on working together. Robert Greenleaf coined the term “servant leadership” He distrusted boss-subordinate-focused leadership styles.

In servant leadership environments, the leader encourages new ideas, empowers employees, and ensures everyone’s safety and health. Serving others is part of servant leadership. This style of leadership requires empathy, listening, persuasion, conceptualization, stewardship, and commitment to others’ personal growth.

Servant Leadership characteristics

Greenleaf says a servant leader looks at situations and organizations as a servant first, looking for ways to help. Servant leaders put stakeholders’ needs first. Second, leadership. In the leader-first perspective, a person tries to take control quickly to make money or gain power.

Personal advancement is secondary to developing and guiding the team to do what is told or meet client and customer needs. A servant leader tells subordinates to serve others over making money, even when in charge. A servant leader shares power and helps others grow. This trait includes listening to followers to understand their needs, but it also means leaders are responsible for their own words and actions and those of others.

Sometimes servant leadership fails. During a war, military commanders must make quick decisions in response to enemy actions and can’t consult with many people.

An Example of Servant Leadership

The leader-first approach is focused on the leader’s need for power, while the servant-first approach is focused on how the leader’s service helps other people. Before trying to get into a position of power, for example, a servant leader might ask how their work helps those who aren’t as well-known or who have less money. Their rise to leadership comes after they have shown a commitment to service.

This can be seen in the world of healthcare, where doctors and nurses work to help their patients and to help their peers and teammates do the same. In business, this can mean making sure that their service helps their employees, customers, and everyone else who has a stake in the business.

Servant LeadershipPros and Cons of servant

There are a variety of methods to lead, and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Servant leaders are respected by their employees, employees feel appreciated and that management is looking out for their best interests, there is a common vision, leaders listen to staff perspectives, which improves inventive efforts, and individuals can acquire new skills and advance in their careers in a supportive environment where they can grow.

The majority of leaders lack expertise with this kind of management, and it may be challenging to adapt the culture to better suit this form of leadership. In addition, making judgments may take a considerable amount of time, which is problematic in times of emergency, or employees may be given more responsibility than they are able to manage.

Pros of Servant Leadership

  • People respect those in charge.
  • People often have the same goals and trust each other more.
  • Company decisions are better when employees’ ideas are taken into account.
  • People get ahead in a supportive setting.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_tablet=”inherit” column_padding_phone=”inherit” column_padding_position=”all” column_element_spacing=”default” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” column_link_target=”_self” column_position=”default” gradient_direction=”left_to_right” overlay_strength=”0.3″ width=”1/2″ tablet_width_inherit=”default” tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” animation_type=”default” bg_image_animation=”none” border_type=”simple” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]
Cons of Servant Leadership
  • Few leaders know how to do this kind of leadership.
  • Taking on this kind of leadership might require a hard cultural shift.
  • This kind of leadership doesn’t help people decide quickly.
  • taff members may have jobs that are too hard for them.

What is the theory of serving as a leader?Researchers believe 20th-century Robert Greenleaf invented servant leadership. Greenleaf thought a leader should focus on their team so they can become independent. Servant leadership puts others’ needs before your own. Greenleaf thought a leader-first mindset was “big, complicated, powerful, cold, not always competent, and sometimes corrupt.”

Why Is Servant Leadership Important?

Greenleaf proposed 10 principles of servant leadership: listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community.

A Servant Leader’s Job Description

A servant leader is in charge of a group’s resources and teaches other leaders how to serve others while still reaching the business’s goals.

What are the four main principles of servant leadership?

Our parents and grandparents wouldn’t recognize the modern concept of leadership. The past was simpler. Bosses are automatically seen as leaders. Everyone has multiple jobs, and being in charge doesn’t make you a leader. Most leadership isn’t at the top. It’s in the org chart.

1. Encourage different ideas.

Diverse things make up diversity. It’s not just about gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, politics, or religion. Change your mindset. Diverse backgrounds make a team desirable. Glassdoor found that 67% of active job seekers value a diverse workplace when considering job offers, and 57% of employers want to prioritize diversity.

Servant leadership encourages everyone to think outside the box and considers all perspectives. Everyone works together and shares ideas before deciding. Power is shared. Instead, it comes from teamwork to reach a goal. Will there be room for everyone at the table? Why wouldn’t you?

2. Make a trusting environment.

Once broken, trust is one of the hardest things to get back. How can a leader build a trusting culture? by making it clear to everyone in the company what the company’s mission is, what its values are, and what its overall vision is. Gallup’s global database shows that only one in three employees are sure they can trust the people in charge of their company.

How can executives get people to trust them more? All communications need to be clear and sent to every level of the organization, from the top down. No one will follow you if you aren’t honest and don’t lead with a clear goal. Being honest builds trust, which has a direct effect on how well you do your job. Remember that trust is not given, it is earned. Have you earned the trust of your team?

3. Have a selfless attitude.

It doesn’t involve you. It’s never been, and it’ll never be. It’s all about the people who make everything happen. Think about where you would be if you didn’t have the gears that make the engine work. One mistake that many leaders make is to think that making money and taking care of people are two different things. In reality, they should go hand in hand. Why keep them apart if you can’t have one without the other? Great hero leaders make it easier for others to succeed and make sure everyone knows they are valued and that their work is important to the success of the company as a whole. 43 percent of the people who filled out the Survey Monkey poll said that feeling appreciated makes them feel more confident. Also, 78 percent of people felt happy after being thanked.

Great leaders bring about change in many ways, but it’s their willingness to put others before themselves that lets them grow their businesses and leave a lasting legacy.

Why leaders should think of themselves as servants.

4. Encourage other people to take charge.

Leaders who know how important it is to build a strong team also know how important it is to train the next group of leaders. It’s more than just helping someone in your group who could one day take your job. As Baby Boomers get ready to retire, it is important for leaders to shape the next generation, but they have a hard job ahead of them. A white paper about HR and millennials says that 63% of millennials feel like they aren’t getting enough leadership training. This should scare us, because who will run the businesses when we are enjoying our retirement? If we don’t get our act together, the answer will be “no one.”

There are many ways to encourage leadership, such as coaching, mentoring, and growth. Take the time to show someone the ropes, give them words of encouragement, and answer any questions these young leaders have for you. Leaders who are good give back. Great leaders can bring together people from many different backgrounds. In fact, organizations with more diversity are 1.7 times more likely to produce leaders with new ideas.

Leaders who put others first do so not because they have to, but because they want to. Leaders who serve are open, honest, and yes, even a little bit weak. This might seem like a weakness, but it can actually help you become a better leader and show people that you are more than just the person who signs the checks.

Servant Leader Examples

Some examples of contemporary servant leadership in business include the following:

  • Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines and a man famous for putting people before shareholders
  • Former Chief Executive Officer of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Cheryl Bachelder is credited for reversing the company’s fortunes by focusing on satisfying customers who had the most financial stake in Popeyes.

Art Barter is the Chief Executive Officer of Datron World Communications, Inc. He is someone who is purposeful about capitalizing on the qualities of his employees in order to drive success.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about expanding yourself,” Jack Welch, the beloved former CEO of General Electric, once wrote. “Success is all about growing yourself.” When you take on a leadership role, achieving success is all about developing the people around you.

Servant-Leadership in Middle East Companies

Is there a distinct culture of business in the Middle East?
Personal and professional life are indistinguishable in the majority of Arab nations. Business in the Middle East is based on personal connections, such as blood ties and respect for one’s family. Strong ties to individuals in the “proper places” often lead to the rules being bent just a little bit.

Because of this, Middle Eastern corporations cannot compete with Western companies like Coca-Cola, GM, Mecides, Ford, and Pepsi, which have been operating for more than 75 to 120 years.

You need a mature company where individuals are working in accordance with vision, purpose, and concrete strategies if you want to hold a position of serviceable leadership. I am not claiming that no mature companies exist in the middle east, but let’s be honest, there aren’t too many.

We are talking about transperancy at work. In the Middle East, this is an uncommon. In those companies, you will clearly see parties and groups who are sharing nationalities, regions, or languages working only together.

Even if they have access to the information of others, these groups usually try to restrict others from obtaining their own information, or even try to create issues and make trouble.

An organization must first build its structure and relate everything to its vision/mission and strive toward long-term sustainability in order to have a servant leader activity in place.

We can see some development in the Middle Eastern companies in this area. They are fighting those groups and trying to make their work aligned with the business needs, but unfortunately, this development is very slow.

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