February 20, 2023
min read

Servant Leadership: Leading with Purpose and Empathy, According to Robert K. Greenleaf

Jane Cassandra
Guest Author


In today's fast-paced and competitive business world, leadership is more important than ever. However, traditional approaches to leadership often prioritize power, control, and authority. In contrast, servant leadership, a concept developed by Robert K. Greenleaf, emphasizes serving others and promoting the growth and well-being of those under your leadership. In this blog post, we'll explore the principles of servant leadership and how it can transform the way you lead.

Leading with Purpose

According to Robert K. Greenleaf, "the first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one's capacity to lead is severely limited." Servant leaders lead with purpose, focusing on the needs of their followers and the organization as a whole, rather than their own personal gain.

Empathy and Listening

Empathy and listening are key components of servant leadership. As Robert K. Greenleaf says, "good leaders must first become good servants." Servant leaders strive to understand the perspectives and needs of their followers, listen actively, and communicate effectively.

Fostering a Culture of Collaboration

Fostering a culture of collaboration is essential for promoting servant leadership. As Robert K. Greenleaf says, "the best test of a servant leader is: do those served grow as persons; do they become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?" Servant leaders encourage collaboration and empowerment, creating a work environment that fosters personal and professional growth.

Leading with Integrity

Leading with integrity is another key principle of servant leadership. As Robert K. Greenleaf says, "a true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others." Servant leaders prioritize ethical behavior, honesty, and transparency.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Promoting diversity and inclusion is another important aspect of servant leadership. As Robert K. Greenleaf says, "diversity is a gift, and inclusion is a choice." Servant leaders recognize and celebrate the diversity of their followers and work to create a welcoming and inclusive work environment for everyone.


Servant leadership is a powerful and transformative approach to leadership that emphasizes serving others, promoting personal and professional growth, and fostering a culture of collaboration and empowerment. By leading with purpose, empathy and listening, fostering a culture of collaboration, leading with integrity, and promoting diversity and inclusion, you can become a more effective and successful leader.

Sources for further reading:

"The Servant as Leader" - Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership

"Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness" - Robert K. Greenleaf

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the servant leadership model?” - Leaderbridge

effortless scheduling

See it to believe it

Choose a better way to organize your team's schedule. Get started for free or schedule a demo and discover what Soon is all about.