The Top Signs You’re a Servant-Leader

The first time I was asked what a servant-leader looks like I was dumbfounded. Who wouldn’t know? But after some thought, I realized that some may not understand what to look for when hiring leaders with a servant’s attitude.


#1. Servant-leaders turn conversations toward others.

One of the first signs of humility is open ears and a closed mouth. Servant-leaders believe they have room to grow. They learn from anyone.

Apart from the foundational character qualities of leadership like integrity, curiosity is one of the top predictors of success.

#2. Servant-leaders use people’s strengths, aspirations, and capabilities as guides for evaluation.  

Egotistical leaders compare people’s performance with their own. Servant-leaders don’t impose their strengths on others.

Ego wants others to act like itself and pressures people to do things the way it would do them. Arrogance believes others should be mirrors. That’s why so many leaders hire mirror images of themselves.

Note: If an employee’s strengths, aspirations, and capabilities don’t bring value to your organization, help them find a place where they bring value.

#3. Servant-leaders concern themselves with how others feel about themselves, not what others think of them.

It’s normal to be concerned about opinions, but egotistical leaders are consumed with image.

#4. Stand behind others.

Super-star leaders defend themselves and willingly sacrifice others along the way.

Servant-leaders defend their team. If you can’t defend the members of your team, one of three things needs to happen.

  1. Fire them.
  2. Fire yourself.
  3. Develop people to the point where you are proud to stand behind them.

#5. Take responsible risks.

Egotistical leaders play it safe because you can’t risk failure if your identity is defined by your last success.

#6. Servant-leaders revel in the success of others.

Envy is a sure sign of arrogance.

How do you spot servant-leaders?