Andrew Pallant

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The Essence of Leadership: Serving to Lead

Physical Link: The Essence of Leadership: Serving to Lead

Leadership is an art, a commitment, and a journey best navigated with a servant’s heart. The concept of servant leadership flips the traditional leadership script, suggesting that the most influential leaders prioritize the needs of their team above their own. This blog post delves into the philosophy of servant leadership, highlights three historical figures who embodied this approach and offers insights into how leaders can serve their teams effectively.

Servant Leadership: A Timeless Approach

The term ‘servant leadership’ was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” However, the practice dates back much further, with examples found throughout history. Servant leaders lead primarily to empower and uplift those around them.

Historical Exemplars of Servant Leadership

  1. Mahatma Gandhi: Gandhi’s leadership of the Indian independence movement was marked by non-violence and a focus on the welfare of the poorest citizens. He led by example, living simply and working alongside his followers.
  2. Nelson Mandela: As the first black President of South Africa, Mandela fostered reconciliation and sought to serve all citizens, prioritizing national healing over personal power.
  3. Mother Teresa: She dedicated her life to serving the sick and poor, leading the Missionaries of Charity with compassion and humility, always putting the needs of others first.

How to Serve Your Team

To serve your team effectively, a leader should:

  • Listen Actively: Understand the needs and aspirations of your team members.
  • Empower Others: Provide the tools, opportunities, and support your team needs to succeed.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate the values and work ethic you wish to see in your team.
  • Encourage Growth: Invest in your team members’ personal and professional development.

Reflections from Personal Experience

In my reflections on recent discussions with a long-time friend from Thinq and my ongoing experiences at tbk Creative, I have realized the immense importance of asking, “How can I help?” as a powerful leadership approach. This question embodies a sincere eagerness to assist others and signifies a solid dedication to achieving success together.

Support Over Dictatorship

A compassionate leader is someone who provides gentle guidance instead of issuing commands, uplifts and motivates rather than instills fear, and creates an environment where every team member feels genuinely valued and deeply heard.


Servant leadership is about showing strength through humility, serving others, and lifting them up. It’s a path that requires confidence, compassion, and a sincere desire to see others thrive. By embracing the principles of servant leadership, today’s leaders can create more close-knit, motivated, and successful teams.

Categories: Listening, Mentor, Personal Thoughts, Professional Development, Success, Team Lead, Team Manager, Uncategorized, leadership, serving

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