Servant leadership is a philosophy which stresses the importance of selfless service, or servitude to others. The word servant in this context does not mean subservient or weak. To be a servant leader is to provide genuine care and concern for the wellbeing of one’s followers, being generous with one’s time, energy, knowledge and resources to help them succeed.
Servant leaders are aware that they must earn trust by listening carefully and responding responsibly to their followers. They know that good leadership requires the ability to show vulnerability and make oneself less-than-perfect so as to be more relatable. Above all else, servant leaders put followers’ needs before their own because they know that their success depends on the success of others.
It is their deep sense of caring, empathy and respect for other people that drives them to do what they can to make life better for those around them. If you have the qualities of a good leader, such as intelligence, charisma and strong work ethic, but don’t possess these qualities you will find it difficult to become an effective servant leader.
In order to lead others well you need to first focus on yourself. You need to look after your health, keep learning new skills and making connections with people who can offer support and advice. You also need to take time out for yourself every day – spend some quiet moments meditating or reading – otherwise you risk burning out from taking too much responsibility for others without ever replenishing your emotional reserves.