The Six Characteristics of Servant Leadership: Empowering Leaders for a Better World

Daniel Michael Hurt

July 5, 2023

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is a philosophy that emphasizes serving others first and leading with compassion and humility. Recently, it has gained recognition as an effective leadership style that brings about positive change and fosters growth within organizations. In this article, we will explore the six essential characteristics of servant leadership that set it apart from traditional leadership styles and contribute to its success in creating an empowered and motivated workforce.


Empathy lies at the heart of servant leadership. Servant leaders actively seek to understand and share the feelings of their team members and stakeholders. They demonstrate genuine care and concern, creating a safe and supportive environment where individuals can thrive. Servant leaders develop solid relationships and foster open communication by putting themselves in others’ shoes. This empathetic approach helps leaders identify their team’s needs, aspirations, and challenges, allowing them to provide the necessary support and guidance. Through empathy, servant leaders cultivate trust, loyalty, and a sense of belonging, which leads to increased engagement and collaboration within the organization.


Active listening is another critical characteristic of servant leadership. Servant leaders value and prioritize listening to others with undivided attention. They create space for individuals to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns, ensuring that everyone feels heard and understood. By actively listening, leaders gain valuable insights, diverse perspectives, and a deeper understanding of their team members’ needs. This enables them to make informed decisions and implement strategies that align with the organization’s collective goals. Moreover, listening fosters a culture of inclusivity, where every voice is valued and contributes to the team’s overall success.


Servant leaders embody selflessness by placing the needs of others above their own. They recognize that leadership is not about personal gain or accumulating power but rather about serving and supporting others to reach their full potential. Servant leaders willingly share their knowledge, resources, and expertise to empower their team members. They actively seek opportunities to uplift others and celebrate their accomplishments, creating a culture of collaboration and shared success. By practicing selflessness, servant leaders inspire a sense of purpose and dedication in their team, fostering a positive work environment and promoting a collective mindset focused on the greater good.


Servant leaders embrace the concept of stewardship, understanding that they are responsible for caring for and nurturing the organization and its people. They view themselves as stewards entrusted with the well-being and development of their team members. This mindset encourages servant leaders to make decisions considering the long-term impact, sustainability, and ethical implications. By practicing responsible stewardship, they create a culture of accountability and integrity, fostering trust and respect within the organization. Servant leaders prioritize the growth and development of their team members, recognizing their potential and providing opportunities for learning and advancement.


Servant leaders empower their team members by giving them the autonomy and authority to make decisions and take ownership of their work. They believe in their team’s capabilities and actively work to develop and enhance their skills. Servant leaders delegate tasks and responsibilities, allowing individuals to grow and excel. Leaders build a culture of innovation, creativity, and continuous improvement by empowering others. They foster a sense of ownership and pride in their team members, inspiring them to go above and beyond to achieve organizational goals. Authorized individuals become more engaged, motivated, and invested in the organization’s success.


Having a clear and compelling vision is a hallmark of servant leadership. Servant leaders inspire others by vividly portraying the future and rallying their team members around a common purpose. They communicate their vision effectively, ensuring everyone understands and aligns their efforts toward its achievement. Servant leaders motivate their teams to overcome challenges and strive for excellence by setting ambitious, attainable goals. Visionary leaders inspire creativity and innovation, encouraging team members to think outside the box and explore new possibilities. Through their vision, servant leaders provide direction and inspire individuals to achieve their full potential.

Servant leadership brings a fresh perspective to the traditional concept of leadership. Servant leaders create environments that foster growth, collaboration, and employee satisfaction by embodying empathy, listening, selflessness, stewardship, empowerment, and vision. This approach benefits individuals within the organization and contributes to its long-term success. As the world continues to evolve, embracing servant leadership can pave the way for a brighter and more compassionate future, where leaders empower and serve their teams to create positive change.