What Really Is a Servant Leader?

Servant leadership is about collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of influence. At the heart of it is the desire to serve people first, with leadership emerging as a by-product of service

A servant leader has a guiding mindset and a set of practices that value the individuals, help to build better teams and organisations, and nurture fairness and care with work and life balance. It’s not about wielding power or authority but about empowering those around you.

A servant leader demonstrates:

1.     Empathy and Listening:

They understand each team member’s unique challenges and contributions. They facilitate open communication and create a safe environment for expressing concerns and ideas, which are crucial when aiming for building successful teams, client outcomes and business impacts.

2. Healing and Support:

They recognise and address burnout or conflicts. They promote a work-life balanced and psychologically safe environment, ensuring team resilience and sustained productivity.

3. Awareness and Persuasion:

They deeply understand how great teams operate and how products are built. Also, they have the ability to connect these ways of working in order to create longstanding business impact. They influence the team through shared vision rather than authority, fostering a collaborative approach to strategy and planning.

4.     Vision and Conceptualisation:

They balance immediate goals with long-term product vision and goals. They anticipate potential impediments, guiding the team in adapting their approaches and maintaining a sustainable pace.

5.     Stewardship and Commitment to Growth:

They encourage ownership and self-management within the team. They invest in professional development and continuous improvement, essential for adapting to fast evolving product and business landscapes.

6.     Building Community:

They create a sense of unity and purpose among diverse teams. They foster cultures where cross-functional collaboration thrives, enhancing innovation and creating value-driven products.

This mindset leads to effective teams and products that can genuinely meet the needs of customers and communities. A servant leader’s role involves nurturing a team’s ability to self-manage, innovate, and deliver exceptional products while maintaining a healthy, supportive work environment. This leadership style is critical in unlocking the full potential of Agile practices.