Some Prominent Servant Leadership Examples
“The great leader is seen as servant first”
– Robert K. Greenleaf
The quote by Robert K. Greenleaf is seen as a challenge to the traditional leadership models. Servant leadership is not a new concept nor is it a way to lead people, rather it expects the leader to see the bigger picture, be compassionate and nurture others.
- Understanding the Concept
Servant leadership combines the notions of what it is to be a good leader and how to be a good leader. This theory has evolved over time; however, some of its concepts remains the same. The basic idea of servant leadership is to challenge the hierarchical leadership structures and to know what it is to serve and to lead. While leadership is not a new concept, it is important to learn that servitude is a virtue for leaders.
- Scale ideas, not just organization
Instead of focusing on scaling programs or organizations, it is important to scale ideas. Richard Murphy was happy when people stole his idea and implemented it because in his opinion if the ideas were not stolen and adapted, they would not have achieved the level of scale they are at today.
- The first job of leader
As a leader, you need to focus on helping others shine instead of keeping yourself in the spotlight. Moreover, you need to think out of the box and support your team in every situation. A leader needs to invest his time, talent and care to craft leaders who will multiply his impact on them.
- Practice compassion
Nobody must have heard about Tenzin Gyatso, but people around the world know about Dalai Lama. Both are the same person. After fleeing his homeland in 1959, Tenzin Gyatso has been working tirelessly towards achieving a democratic Tibet. Alongside his work, he also spread his message of peace and compassion and has become a spiritual and temporal leader – Dalai Lama of the Tibetans.
- Look beyond
A great example of the servant leader is Nelson Mandela. Having lived his life suffering from intense violence, racism, and ethnocentric antagonism, Mandela campaigned for peace and reconciliation with the whites. Mandela had the ability to look ahead and take a better view of the situation. While a majority of people focus on short-term results, servant leaders often look beyond limits to see which actions can help lead to a better future.
For more best practices regarding team leadership training and leadership examples, head on over to
Another best servant leadership example is Richard Murphy whose legacy serves as the best example of true servant leadership for all leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Here are few of his innovations and the impact they had on the community:
- Richard Murphy founded the Rheedlen Center for Children and Families which is nowadays now as Harlem Children’s Zone. This body serves 12,000 youth and their families and is being replicated as Promise Neighborhoods.
- He also created a free program in New York to help low-income working families fill their tax return to maximize their Earned Income Tax Credits. His efforts have helped more than 30,000 New Yorkers and provide resources for the families so that they can enjoy greater economic security.
Are you inspired from the servant leaders?