Last Updated on April 5, 2023 by Dave Schoenbeck
Robert Greenleaf coined the term “servant leadership” in the 1970s to describe an ideal management style. One of his servant leadership quotes says: “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.”
I’ve touched on servant leadership before because I think it’s essential for every business leader to incorporate this management style into how they feel about their teams. I genuinely believe that good leaders must first become good servants .
Quotes About Being a Servant Leader
To become a better servant leader, we should look to the experts. So here are a few poignant servant leadership quotes straight from the best.
John C. Maxwell is a famous author, speaker, and pastor who has written the book on leadership (several times over). One of my favorite John Maxwell quotes on servant leadership is this: “A successful person finds the right place for himself. But a successful leader finds the right place for others.”
Another great contemporary leader is Simon Sinek, author and motivational speaker. His TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” is a must-see for any business leader. One of his many servant leadership quotes is: “Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge.”
Carla Northcutt, a seminary professor, once said, “The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” A servant leader empowers their team and makes them believe they can succeed.
Intellectual and activist Booker T. Washington summed up servant leadership beautifully when he said, “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” This goes double in the workplace, as your success as a leader depends on your team’s success.
Servant leadership is far from a new concept. Ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi (also known as Lao Tzu) wrote about it during the 6th century BC. He said, “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.”
Finally, any list of servant leadership quotes would be incomplete without a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
We will reap the rewards if every leader can keep a heart full of grace in the workplace.
Have these servant leadership quotes inspired you to learn how to be a better leader? Then, sign up for my mailing list and have weekly blog articles about business, leadership, and more delivered straight to your inbox.
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