Leaders have the opportunity to serve

  1. Servant leaders respond to problems by listening to understand. Servant leaders are excellent active listeners. In stark contrast to “listening to respond,” “listening to understand” requires the listener to put all his energy toward absorbing what the speaker is saying, rather than formulating a response while she is still talking.
  2. Servant leaders approach people with acceptance and empathy. Servant leaders unconditionally accept their followers and seek to empathise with them. “The servant always accepts and empathises, never rejects,” Greenleaf writes, however, Greenleaf is careful to point out that this doesn’t mean the leader should unconditionally accept subpar work, but rather the whole person-flaws and all.
  3. Servant leaders take time for themselves. In essence, servant leaders know that when their energy is depleted, they won’t be at their best for the people around them. Greenleaf calls this “pacing oneself for appropriate withdrawal.” Servant leaders constantly ask themselves what they need to do in order to serve best.
  4. Servant leaders are excellent forecasters and vision communicators. Servant leaders are adept at making predictions and setting goals to achieve outcomes. Most leaders have the gift of foresight, but servant leaders are especially skilled at leading people into the future from alongside or behind them. “The best leaders are clear,” wrote Greenleaf. “They continually light the way, and in the process, let each person know that what they do makes a difference.”
  5. Servant leaders are perceptive and aware. Servant leaders “see things as they are.” Greenleaf writes that those who “move with narrow perception miss opportunities for leadership.” Perceptiveness requires being fully present in the current moment, rather than obsessing over the past or things to come.



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Jonathan Mills

Jonathan Mills


Jonathan has spent over 30 years focusing his efforts on developing people throughout the world. He believes that people have the most impact when stretched.