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The 28 Most Powerful Quotes on Servant Leadership

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Servant leadership is a concept that is becoming more and more popular in today’s society. The idea of putting others before yourself is something that is often talked about, but not always put into practice.

These quotes about servant leadership will inspire you to become a better leader and help others achieve success.

Top servant leadership quotes

  1. “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.” – Ronald Reagan
  2. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams
  3. “Leadership is not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge.” – Simon Sinek
  4. “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  5. “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” – John C. Maxwell
  6. “The servant leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve.” – Robert K. Greenleaf
  7. “The role of the leader is to create the environment in which people can thrive.” – Simon Sinek
  8. “The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” – Albert Schweitzer
  9. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.” – Arnold H. Glasow
  10. “The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him, but the number of people he serves.” – John C. Maxwell
  11. “The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” – Ralph Nader
  12. “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others.” – Douglas MacArthur
  13. “To lead people, walk beside them.” – Lao Tzu
  14. “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln
  15. “A leader is someone who demonstrates what’s possible.” – Mark Yarnell
  16. “The servant leader serves the followers, and in so doing creates a better world for all.” – Robert K. Greenleaf
  17. “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” – Lao Tzu
  18. “Servant leadership is not about rank or position. It’s about having the humility to put the needs of others first and helping them succeed.” – Unknown
  19. “The best leaders are those most interested in surrounding themselves with assistants and associates smarter than they are.” – John C. Maxwell
  20. “True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well.” – Bill Owens
  21. “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
  22. “Good leaders must first become good servants.” – Robert Greenleaf
  23. “The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” – James Buchanan
  24. “To be a leader, you must first be a servant.” – Unknown
  25. “The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present.” – James Kouzes and Barry Posner
  26. “A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.” – Simon Sinek
  27. “The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden
  28. “The leader’s job is to provide the vision and the resources to bring about positive change.” – Unknown

The top servant leadership quotes explained

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

servant leadership quote

This quote by Robert K. Greenleaf captures the essence of servant leadership by emphasizing the importance of prioritizing service above all else. A servant-leader, according to Greenleaf, is someone who is primarily motivated by a desire to serve others rather than seeking power, status, or personal gain.

This philosophy of leadership is based on the belief that by putting the needs of others first, a leader can create a positive and supportive environment that empowers people to achieve their full potential. In essence, the quote suggests that servant leadership is rooted in a fundamental desire to serve and make a positive difference in the lives of others, rather than just seeking to exert control or influence over them.

“True leadership lies in guiding others to success. In ensuring that everyone is performing at their best, doing the work they are pledged to do and doing it well.”

servant leadership quote

This quote by Bill Owens highlights the core principles of servant leadership. Owens emphasizes that true leadership is about guiding and supporting others to succeed, rather than simply directing them. An ethical leader seeks to empower their followers by ensuring that they have the necessary resources, training, and support to perform at their best. This approach involves creating a culture of collaboration and mutual respect, where everyone is encouraged to contribute their ideas and talents. 

“The test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.”

servant leadership quote

This quote by James Buchanan reflects the idea that servant leadership is about recognizing and bringing out the greatness that already exists within people. A servant leader understands that their role is not to impose their own ideas or vision on others, but rather to facilitate the growth and development of their followers.

This approach requires a deep level of empathy and understanding, as well as a commitment to empowering others to achieve their full potential. Create a supportive environment that fosters creativity, collaboration, and mutual respect, so a servant-leader can help to elicit the greatness that already exists within their team or organization.

“A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.”

servant leadership quote

This quote by Simon Sinek highlights a key aspect of servant leadership, which is to empower others to achieve their goals and reach their full potential. A noble leader is not someone who simply delegates tasks or tells others what to do, but rather someone who supports and guides their followers to achieve success.

This involves helping others develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to take ownership of their work and accomplish their objectives.

“The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present.”

servant leadership quote

This quote by James Kouzes and Barry Posner emphasizes the importance of building strong relationships with followers as a key element of servant leadership. A servant leader understands that they cannot lead effectively if they do not have a deep understanding of the people they are leading.

This involves taking the time to connect with others on a personal level and understanding their unique strengths, motivations, and goals. By building strong relationships based on mutual respect and trust, a servant-leader can create a culture of collaboration and shared purpose that inspires people to work together towards a common vision.

Recap: Become a servant leader

The noble leader answers the call of leadership with a sense of responsibility and duty to lead their followers toward success. However, a servant leader believes that their ultimate goal is to serve and empower others, rather than to assert their authority or control over them.

The modern servant leadership movement recognizes that leadership is not just about achieving personal success or recognition, but rather about empowering others to achieve their goals and reach their full potential.

By embracing the principles of empathy, humility, and collaboration, servant-leaders can create a culture of trust and respect that inspires others to work towards a common vision.

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