Six Characteristics of Servant Leadership

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servant leadership

Servant leadership is a type of leadership that prioritizes the needs of others. It is a way to build a company culture that will boost innovation, productivity, and employee engagement.

As a servant leader, you need to have the following characteristics: empathy, listening, stewardship, and commitment to the growth of people. They help you make your team feel like they’re part of something greater than themselves and increase their commitment and engagement.

1. Empathy

Empathy, the ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes, is a hallmark of good leadership. It’s a skill that allows leaders to connect with their teams and build stronger relationships. According to psychologists Daniel Goleman and Paul Ekman, empathy has three main components: cognitive, emotional, and compassionate.

Cognitive empathy is the ability to recognize and understand the emotions of others through a process called perspective-taking, which involves thinking about a situation from a different point of view.

2. Listening

Listening is a critical skill in any relationship, but it’s especially important in business communication. A lack of listening can result in a range of misunderstandings, including miscommunications about dates, names, places, and other important information.

Servant leaders are good listeners because they strive to understand others’ points of view and take into account their own biases. This allows them to make decisions that are more aligned with their long-term values and goals.

3. Stewardship

Stewardship is the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. The word “steward” comes from the Old Testament.

It is a spiritual concept that identifies humans as stewards of God’s gifts, time and resources. This involves safeguarding material and human resources, using them responsibly and generously giving them back to God with love, justice and gratitude.

Servant leadership also emphasizes persuasion rather than control. This is important because it allows the leader to build consensus amongst a team or organization.

4. Commitment to the growth of people

Servant leadership is a leadership style that puts the needs of those you lead before your own. It can be a great way to motivate and inspire your team.

The term comes from the 1970 book, “Servant Leadership,” by Robert K. Greenleaf, who argued that leaders must be willing to put others first in order to get the best results for their organizations.

A servant leader is committed to the growth of those they serve and will do everything possible to help them grow professionally, personally, and spiritually. This helps them build a positive work culture and creates long-term business success.

5. Commitment to the success of the organization

One of the most important characteristics of servant leadership is commitment to the success of the organization. This means making decisions that benefit the long-term goals of the company, even if they aren’t always easy.

A sales team supervisor, for example, shows commitment to the success of their team by being there when they need help. This helps them to build trust with their team members and encourages them to work hard for the success of their company.

6. Compassion

Compassion is a feeling that allows you to empathize with others and motivates prosocial behaviors. It can also improve relationships, help you build social support and protect you from interpersonal stress.

Despite the importance of compassion, there is lack of consensus on its definition and a paucity of psychometrically robust measures. This paper aims to propose a definition and review self- and observer-rated measures of compassion using a five-element construct.