While traditional leadership styles accumulate a great extent of power at the top rungs, servant leadership puts other people’s need first and shares power with them.

A servant leader actively contributes in the personal development and performance of their team. Here are 10 characteristics and traits that distinguishes a servant leader from the more traditional ones.

1. Empathy

A servant leader has the ability to recognize and understand feelings and emotions that are experienced by their team. Such a leader will care for other people and will deeply experience emotions that match what others are feeling. Since they understand others so deeply, their actions are motivated by a genuine desire to help others.

2. Listening

By paying complete attention to what others are saying, servant leaders are able to get a complete understanding of all interpersonal situations that they are dealing with. They use active listening to resolve conflicts, counsel others, and also to impart training.

3. Awareness

Many people in positions of power are blissfully ignorant of their shortcomings, but not the servant leader. They are completely aware of their strengths, weaknesses, values, emotions, and feelings. This self-awareness allows the servant leader to understand personal biases and set them aside while making decisions.

4. Healing

Followers typically desire for a leader who has a sincere interest in fostering their emotional and spiritual well-being. By taking an active role in promoting the mental and emotional strength of their employees, servant leaders typically inspire an exceptional level of trust and faith from others.

5. Conceptualization

An important quality of a servant leader is their ability to conceptualize, or imagine the possibilities of future and reconcile it with current realities. This ability helps the leader visualize a bright future, and take the necessary steps to get there.

6. Persuasive

It is easy for a servant leader to influence the opinions and actions of others through persuasive skills. This quality comes in handy in negotiations with business partners, customers, and stakeholders. Since servant leaders are committed to the welfare of others, they use this ability only to influence others positively.

7. Stewardship

A servant leader acts as a steward for the organization’s resources. They assume complete responsibility for planning and managing all available resources for the betterment and prosperity of the organization, employees, and stakeholders.

8. Foresight

Everything is connected – the past, the present, and future. Servant leaders have an intuitive ability to predict what is likely to happen in future, based on the past and the present. This foresight enables these leaders to plan ahead.

9. Community building

Under a servant leader, people come together for a common purpose. They are able to create a feeling of belonging to something bigger than each individual, and foster team spirit and a sense of community. Servant leaders also deeply care for this community that they create.

10. Committed to growth of others

A servant leader takes it upon themselves to develop others. They are likely to help employees chart out a clear career path and provide them with resources to progress from one level to the next.

Y Scouts is a leadership search practice that connects purpose-driven organizations with purpose-driven leaders. We believe that the best employer and employee connections start by connecting through a shared purpose.

What’s Your Why? Click here if you’re an employer looking to find a servant leader. Click here if you want to make a difference in a new leadership role.