The Servant Leader

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:10 Philanthropy
  • 1:03 Servant Leadership
  • 2:20 Bosses as Servant Leaders
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
Create an account to start this course today
Try it free for 5 days!
Create An Account

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sherri Hartzell

Sherri has taught college business and communication courses. She also holds three degrees including communications, business, educational leadership/technology.

If you've ever had a boss who has taken the blame for one of your errors, he or she may have been a servant leader. Find out in this lesson all the other characteristics of a servant leader.

Philanthropy Isn't Dead

Serving others takes a significant amount of self-sacrifice. Not only does it require one to consider the needs of others, but it oftentimes requires putting one's own needs on hold. The idea of philanthropy, or having a genuine concern for the advancement of others, is something that most of us have considered at some point in our lives. Anytime you thought it would be a good idea to serve food at a homeless shelter, sign up to build a house with Habitat for Humanity, donate blood, or drop off used clothes or can goods, you have the intentions of a true philanthropist. For some of us, helping the less fortunate is a way of being grateful for the gifts we have received in this life. For others, it is simply the desire to do something nice for other people. There are even some of us that do it because they believe putting the needs of others before your own is a true testament of character and a requirement of being a true leader.

To Serve is to Lead

The concept of servant leadership was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in 1970.

Robert Greenleaf
Robert Greenleaf Photo

Greenleaf believed that before anyone can lead, they first need to be a servant. To be a true leader, one must ensure people's highest priority needs are being served. For Greenleaf, effective leaders do not lead by power, coercion, or control - rather they lead through service to those whom they influence by embracing a high level of moral responsibility.

The servant leader continually strives to help subordinates reach their personal best by supporting, inspiring, and celebrating their development. However, subordinates are not the only people the servant leader is concerned with; in fact, the needs of customers, peer employees, and the community are also considered.

While any smart businessperson knows the importance of taking care of customers, providing employees with the tools they need to do their jobs, and having a high level of social responsibility, a servant leader has a genuine concern for those with whom they work and provides products or services above the status quo. The focus of the servant leader is on the growth, development, and advancement of others, not personal gain, power, money, or status.

The servant leader is like having all of the resources, knowledge, and authority you need to be successful.

Show Me the Servant

To many of us, the idea of having a servant leader probably sounds a lot like winning the lottery. Besides, who wouldn't want a boss who cares more about you than themselves?

Just imagine for a second what it would be like to be lead by someone who:

  • Spends more time listening than talking
  • Puts your accomplishments in the spotlight, instead of jockeying for attention and boasting about how great they are.
  • Takes the blame when things turn out differently than expected instead of pointing fingers at the first available person
  • Willingly shares credit when things do turn out good
  • Takes the time to get to know your goals
  • Works to inspire you to achieve them by giving you all the resources you need to be successful
  • Makes decisions for the better good instead of their own selfish motivations.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register for a free trial

Are you a student or a teacher?
I am a teacher
What is your educational goal?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 10 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 49 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Click "next lesson" whenever you finish a lesson and quiz. Got It
You now have full access to our lessons and courses. Watch the lesson now or keep exploring. Got It
You're 25% of the way through this course! Keep going at this rate,and you'll be done before you know it.
The first step is always the hardest! Congrats on finishing your first lesson. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Way to go! If you watch at least 30 minutes of lessons each day you'll master your goals before you know it. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Congratulations on earning a badge for watching 10 videos but you've only scratched the surface. Keep it up! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You've just watched 20 videos and earned a badge for your accomplishment! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You've just earned a badge for watching 50 different lessons. Keep it up, you're making great progress! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You just watched your 100th video lesson. You have earned a badge for this achievement! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 200th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Congratulations! You just finished watching your 300th lesson and earned a badge! Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You are a superstar! You have earned the prestigious 500 video lessons watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
Incredible. You have just entered the exclusive club and earned the 1000 videos watched badge. Go to Next Lesson Take Quiz
You have earned a badge for watching 20 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 50 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 100 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 250 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 500 minutes of lessons.
You have earned a badge for watching 1000 minutes of lessons.