Servant Leadership

Brady3_300Servant leadership is a philosophy and practice of leadership, coined and defined by Robert Greenleaf and supported by many leadership and management writers.  Servant-leaders achieve results for their organizations by giving priority in their attention to the needs of their colleagues and those they serve. Servant-leaders are often seen as humble stewards of their organization's resources (human, financial and physical).


Five seconds of encouragement... five minutes of education... or five years of effort for someone else's benefit.  Servant leaders shine and find their greatest sense of fulfillment in enabling others to succeed.

-Brady Stephenson


Greenleaf said it best:

"The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature."

-Robert K. Greenleaf


Servant leaders recognize the importance and value of their peers and subordinates in the success of the mission.  In serving the needs of their colleagues, servant leaders elevate and enable the group to succeed far beyond what any single individual can accomplish.

Consider these words of wisdom and encouragement from nationally recognized servant leaders:

Servant leaders have humility, and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. They are kind, and stay vigilant to people going through hard times, because one never knows how and when they can make a difference in another person’s life. They have moral courage to stand up for what is right, and to resist the temptation of short-term gains.”

-Jim Hackett, CEO, Anadarko Petroleum

“When you are treated as if you will become your best, will do something great, your own intrinsic motivation is awakened. I am an example of this, first owing to my father and then others who saw something in me. By relating to the essence of people–not who they are today, but from their unfulfilled future–you can change them, release their ‘Seabiscuit.’”

-George Martinez, CEO, Allegiance Bank

“Servant leadership does not imply being a slave to other people’s wants but rather requires identifying and meeting the legitimate needs of others and seeking their greatest good.”

-Kip Tindell, CEO, The Container Store

Learn more at the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.