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How to Become a Better Servant Leader

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Decades ago, Robert Greenleaf articulated one of the most important leadership frameworks in history: “servant leadership.”

Greenleaf described the essence of this counterintuitive approach here:

“The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.” -Robert Greenleaf

According to this framework, the only people who can determine if you’re a leader are those who freely and knowingly choose to follow you. So, paradoxically, the power to determine if you’re a leader, not just a “boss,” comes from willing followers. Begrudging compliance from those who fear punishment, or who seek rewards, is the opposite of what true servant leaders aim for.

Will people willingly follow you? Yes, if they believe you will serve them (and if you demonstrate character and competence).

So, how can you become a better servant leader?

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