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5 Attributes of Leaders Who Actively Serve Others

"Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge."

— Simon Sinek

Leaders have the opportunity and responsibility to influence your life positively.

  • Have the leaders and managers you've worked with positively influenced your life?

  • Have they been validating and affirming?

  • Have they served you well and challenged you to become a better person?

Commenting on the heart of leadership, John Maxwell says, "The heart of leadership is serving others first, before yourself. Here's the problem, most organizations operate from a hierarchical leadership structure. Leaders "move up" the ladder in an organization, and, once there, see themselves "above" their team."

  • All too often, gifted leaders are trained to lead from the top rung of the corporate ladder communicating with their teams from afar.

  • Thankfully there are just as many gifted leaders trained to lead from the bottom rung, communicating with their teams there.

Please indulge me as I take a little Shakespearian literary license from Hamlet,

The Question

"To serve, or not to serve: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in mind to suffer The slings and arrows of misconceptions Or to take up towels and serve the masses

attempting to navigate a sea of troubles." – JSP (1)

Servant leaders are intentionally active in their team members' personal development. Below are five “Noble” attributes of quality servant leaders.

1. Awareness

a. Self-awareness allows you to place others before yourself.

b. Self-awareness allows you to clearly understand others.

c. Model the behavior you want others to follow.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

2. Active Listening

Brené Brown aptly states, "Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection."

By being more attentive to others, we better understand those we interact with, and using active listening skills forms a stronger bond between our teams and us.

3. Empathy

Empathy and Emotional intelligence go hand in hand. Recognizing and managing our emotions, as well as that of those we lead, gives us the ability to understand how people are feeling.

  • Empathy allows for greater awareness of the what and why behind a person's feelings.

  • Empathy enhances our ability to serve others on a much deeper level enabling them to sort things out and reach their potential.

4. People Development

As servant leaders, we take it upon ourselves to develop others to reach their potential. Developing deep, meaningful relationships with those we serve transcends the five-day workweek. Modeling integrity and loyalty carries influence beyond the business relationship.

Sheryl Sandberg says, “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.”

5. Community Transformation

Ken Blanchard says, "Servant leadership is all about making the goals clear and rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win."

Bringing people together for a common cause creates a sense of belonging. Teams share a sense of purpose that affirms and validates whenever their collective service benefit the community around them.

End Notes

(1) My literary license is taken from "Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act III, Scene I [To be, or not to be]."

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co. ***

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