One of the biggest new trends in leadership is called servant leadership. Servant leadership is a hot topic for everyone from restaurant managers to paid public speakers. But what is servant leadership?

Traditional leadership includes people who: 

  • See leadership as a higher role or ranking
  • Use their power to control others
  • Show success through output
  • Constantly speak over employees
  • Have an obvious sense of self importance

Servant Leaders are people who:

  • View leadership as a chance to serve others
  • Share control to help others thrive
  • Show success through employee development and growth
  • Listen to their employees
  • Make it a priority to let others shine

Servant leadership has been defined by scholars as a leadership style that demonstrates these five characteristics: Valuing people, humility, listening, trust, and caring. 

1. Valuing People: Servant leaders understand and value the people around them. They make an effort to get to know their employees, show respect, and give praise, as opposed to the traditional method of only focusing on and valuing what the employee can give to the company. Servant leaders work for their people and are committed to giving them their best everyday. They show interest and concern in truly knowing the people who work for them. 

2. Humility: Servant leaders advocate for those around them; they put their followers and employees first and do not indulge in the vanity of self promotion. Their actions and attitudes show humility towards their employees, understanding that to lead, you need a team and that team should be praised and invested in. Servant leaders believe things are best accomplished through a team, not individuals; therefore they promote a culture within the organization that focuses on the employees’ accomplishments and not merely their own.

3. Listening: Servant leaders are great listeners. They are open to constructive feedback that helps a company move in a positive direction. Great leaders make time to be empathetic and ensure their employees know their concerns are important to them. True listening involves communication, action, improvements, and usually compromise. 

4. Trust: Servant leaders are able to trust their workforce. They have faith in their employees and are able to put tasks in their hands with confidence. They take the risk of trust because they know the people they serve. Great leaders are able to delegate tasks and projects, maintaining the delicate balance of providing needed support without micromanaging their workforce.

5. Caring: The best way to be a servant leader is to care about your employees. Great leaders show kindness and respect to the people surrounding them, and hold others accountable to the same level of respect. By definition, servant leadership is to serve, not be served. Servant leaders often demonstrate they care in tangible ways such as taking the time to get to know an employee, honoring them on their birthdays, and being a good listener. 

Servant leaders are bringing a fresh wave of compassion back into the workplace to foster strong, growing, and constantly improving employees and businesses.