As defined by Greenleaf, servant leaders are not motivated by the traditional manifestations of power: 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. The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served.
Servant leaders strive to understand other people's intentions and perspectives.
You can be more empathetic by putting aside your viewpoint temporarily, valuing others' perspectives, and approaching situations with an open mind.
As a servant leader, you're a "servant first" – you focus on the needs of others, especially team members, before you consider your own.
You acknowledge other people's perspectives, give them the support they need to meet their work and personal goals, involve them in decisions where appropriate, and build a sense of community within your team.
In the team structure, leaders are there to lend support, do research, provide supplies and even run errands, Neil Kokemuller wrote in "Problems With the Servant Leadership Model." But servant leadership can also lead to problems, Kokemuller and others argue.
The practice can minimize the authority of leaders, undercutting the service and advice intended to improve employees' lives.
In addition, a leader who is always there to help employees may actually demotivate them to solve problems on their own, in the same way that parents who run interference for a child may cripple the child's maturity.
In any case, most management experts agree that servant leadership is not a short-term approach and takes time to be successful.