Listening - Traditionally, leaders have been
valued for their communication and decision making skills.
Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a
deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders
seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to
listen receptively to what is being said (and not said). Listening
also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and
seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are
Empathy - Servant-leaders strive to understand
and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and
recognized for their special and unique spirit. One must assume the
good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even
when forced to reject their behavior or performance.
Healing - Learning to heal is a powerful force
for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of
servant-leadership is the potential for healing one's self and
others. In "The Servant as Leader", Greenleaf writes, "There is
something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led
if, implicit in the compact between the servant-leader and led is
the understanding that the search for wholeness is something that
Awareness - General awareness, and especially
self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment
to foster awareness can be scary--one never knows that one may
discover! As Greenleaf observed, "Awareness is not a giver of
solace - it's just the opposite. It disturbed. They are not seekers
of solace. They have their own inner security."
Persuasion - Servant-leaders rely on
persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions.
Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce
compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest
distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that
of servant-leadership. The servant-leader is effective at building
consensus within groups.
Conceptualization - Servant-leaders seek to
nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." The ability to
look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing
perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities.
Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between
conceptualization and day-to-day focus.
Foresight - Foresight is a characteristic that
enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the
realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision
in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.
Stewardship - Robert Greenleaf's view of all
institutions was one in which CEO's, staff, directors, and trustees
all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust
for the great good of society.
Commitment to the Growth of People -
Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond
their tangible contributions as workers. As such, servant-leaders
are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual
growth of each and every individual within the organization.
Building Community - Servant-leaders are aware
that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the
primary shaper of human lives has changed our perceptions and has
caused a feeling of loss. Servant-leaders seek to identify a means
for building community among those who work within a given
Find out more about servant leadership