Business Management

Infographic: 10 main qualities for Servant leadership

Image Business Management



Franck Louveau

Consultant - Service DNA at EHL Advisory Services

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Servant leadership is about embracing the concept of serving others and developing the courage to lead differently. It's a concept that fosters a collaborative attitude and supports collectivism with the aim of working towards a common purpose. Similar to the relational and participative leadership style, it is based on principles of inclusion, empowerment, purposefulness and ethical behaviors.

Servant leadership's premise is to lead by putting the needs of the team first. Servant leaders trust that when their team members feel personally and professionally fulfilled, they produce higher quality of work and are more efficient. Employee satisfaction and collaboration are main outcomes in servant leadership.


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    A servant leader will provide the opportunity for all team members to be heard and will pay close attention to what is being said or not.

    Being empathetic

    Having the ability to emotionally understand what other people feel, seeing things from their point of view, and imagining ourselves in their place. Essentially, it is putting oneself in someone else’s position and feeling what they are feeling.


    The act of defining a problem; determining the cause of the problem; identifying, prioritizing, and selecting alternatives for a solution; and implementing a solution.

    Being aware

    The behavior of business leaders can impact the employees they supervise. With self-awareness, you can understand the influence of your emotions and professional conduct in your work environment. Knowing how to cultivate self-awareness can help you become a more effective leader.

    Being persuasive

    To be able to successfully navigate in a VUCA world (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) managers need to embrace a more collaborative and persuasive style of leadership. More than ever, leaders must be capable of building agile, adaptable, future-focused organizations. Persuasive leadership allows for effective change creation.


    Conceptual skills allow leaders to see how all the parts of an organization work together to achieve the organization’s goals. Conceptual skills help employees avoid the pitfall of “not seeing the forest for the trees”. Conceptualizing can both envision problems and brainstorm solutions, being a creative type and working through abstract concepts and ideas.

    Having foresight

    With uncertainty and volatility affecting every aspect of our lives and organizations, one of the most important leadership skills is the ability to effectively manage, harness, and leverage the constant change around us; and this can be done through foresight. Foresight, also known as “futures thinking” or “futuring” is “the ability to create and maintain a high-quality, coherent and functional forward view, and to use the insights arising in useful organizational ways” futurist Richard Slaughter.

    Being a steward

    A Steward leaders run a company like they own it, regardless of their rank. Steward leaders adopt a “we” perspective instead of a “I” perspective. They think about the long-term picture and make sure they are clear on what’s important to the company’s long-term success. Steward leaders understand that the company’s core values (financial sustainability, product quality, ethical behavior) can be in conflict with personal values (money, recognition, prestige). Steward leaders align their work, and their decisions with the organization’s core values, they consider the short term, but steadily work toward building a stronger team and aiming for better results in the longer term.

    Being committed to people’s growth

    How you can invest in your talent? Invest in high-potential leadership programs, send them to professional development events, and coach them up. These opportunities can keep doors open and improve your bottom lines. Your people are looking for those opportunities and if you aren’t fostering a culture that supports the development and keeps talent, someone else will.

    Building community spirit

    Regardless of where “work” is, research has shown that we’re likely to perform better when we feel a sense of belonging. Teamwork relies on working together as part of a cohesive community with shared goals. Everyone needs a support network of some kind. Without this sense of community spirit, successful results are unlikely to be achieved.

    There are many approaches to leadership as there are leaders Building awareness of frameworks and styles can help you develop your approach and be a more effective leader of your professional teams. Servant leadership is relevant for business as it creates a working environment in which employees at all levels of the organization feel respected, heard, appreciated, and valued. This type of approach creates a positive corporate culture based on values, ideas, and ethics, and leads to high morale among team members. Organizations that decide to follow the servant leadership philosophy tend to have a stronger positive work culture with high employee engagement and retention.

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