Empowering the Organization with Servant Leadership

“Servant Leadership” is a term that first made its appearance in Robert K. Greenleaf’s essay, The Servant as a Leader. Though coined by Greenleaf in 1970, servant leadership is a concept that has existed for several centuries. 

What is servant leadership?

While most people consider it a leadership style, servant leadership is really about adopting a ‘serve-first’ mindset that complements your view of leadership. It is the act of modelling humble behaviour that seeks to put stakeholders, including employees, at heart in bringing about meaningful organizational transformation.

Servant leadership aims to promote the well-being of the community or organization as a whole. It fosters an environment where each employee finds a sense of fulfilment at an individual level and experiences success as a group. 

“Leadership and stewardship are closely related.”

Leaders have the capacity to create a ripple effect of positive or negative impact on others. Their actions and attitude influence their “followers”, who will carry this influence to others, and so on. In a way, we are all leaders as we emulate what we learn and stimulate change around us. 

Once, I was struck visually with a play on the word “leadership” to “leadersheep“. It helps leaders recognize that they, too, are sheep who look upon their mentors for guidance from time to time. Leadership flows in one’s followership of someone (or something). It is imperative that one’s followership remains true and faithful, especially when this has an enormous impact, whether positively or otherwise, on those they lead.

“Never underplay followership.”

Being a leader means being the point of influence. Someone in leadership has influence over people in so many different ways—it is never just about deriving benefits or skill development. Often, the association of work is an association with the person leading them. 

Therefore, servant leaders can be thought of as stewards who help people achieve the best they can be.

“Growth mindset plays a more important role than you think.”

A growth mindset is crucial for employees not only in terms of their careers. It is never wise for a person to grow only professionally and neglect other aspects of their personal life, like family, relationships, etc. 

How does an employee’s personal life connect to their role at work, you ask? Well, for one, companies that make room for both professional and personal successes would witness a more rounded organizational success.

“Balance your work and life” is a commonly used phrase – it sounds good, but it is erroneous, as it implies that work is not life. This is certainly not the intention behind the phrase, though. One’s work, physical health, mental state, family, and social interests are all a part of life. It is, therefore, essential to align these aspects so that our people achieve their personal goals, too, while contributing to the organization’s progress. 


An organization embraces servant leadership only when there is sincere care and concern for the employees. In this, we would do well to cease viewing people as mere resources for our objectives and gains; but instead, acknowledge them as individual beings deserving of respect.

As humans, it is essential to put ourselves in the employees’ shoes to understand their growth, conflicts, and challenges. Once this habit becomes second nature, leaders will notice a transformation across all levels and establish a balance between driving empathy and building a profitable organization. 


Servant leadership has been talked about so often that sometimes it loses meaning in industry jargon. When you start recognizing the privilege of being entrusted with a position of influence and power, it alters how you view those responsibilities. You begin to see each other with respect recognizing that you yourself are also a ‘sheep’. 

There is an innate beauty in one who can extend gratefulness in being able to serve—as I am reminded of Albert Mohler’s notion that leaders will serve by leading and lead by serving. By extending their service to others, servant leaders help individuals to be the leaders they can be for society. And by following this principle, you help in growing better leaders.

Personally, my faith in God has influenced my view of leadership. The word ‘servant’ implies that you have a master—and for me, my Master is Jesus Christ. 


Working in a fast-paced industry can put a strain on people, and the repercussions may lead to more difficulty for family and friends. For servant leaders, even a simple act of checking in with their people, finding out how they are doing, and enquiring about their families can ease burdens.

Sometimes, being a servant leader may cause conflicts with those around you, but engaging in meaningful conversations with your people results in a rewarding experience. One does not have to make impossible sacrifices to be a servant leader. Instead, focus on the things you can control and make adjustments wherever possible.


Servant leadership is not just one person’s job. At every level in the organization, we are responsible for being stewards to those who have placed their trust in us. Be it for fun or work, living out servant leadership in our daily lives can foster real and lasting relationships amongst friends, team members, and clients. 

When the employee is ‘served’ and empowered, the organization is likewise ‘served’ and empowered.