Sobering Remarks on Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership Quotes


“We must be silent before we can listen. We must listen before we can learn. We must learn before we can prepare. We must prepare before we can serve. We must serve before we can lead.” ~ by William Arthur Ward as quoted in Leadership . . . with a human touch. June 1,1999. p.11.

“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.” ~ J. Carla Nortcutt

“Leaders we admire do not place themselves at the center; they place others there. They do not seek the attention of people; they give it to others. They do not focus on satisfying their own aims and desires; they look for ways to respond to the needs and interests of their constituents. They are not self-centered; they concentrate on the constituent. . . Leaders serve a purpose and the people who have made it possible for them to lead . . . . In serving a purpose, leaders strengthen credibility by demonstrating that they are not in it for themselves; instead, they have the interests of the institution, department, or team and its constituents at heart. Being a servant may not be what many leaders had in mind when they choose to take responsibility for the vision and direction of their organization or team, but serving others is the most glorious and rewarding of all leadership tasks.” ~ by James Kouzes and Barry Posner in Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It.

“If leadership serves only the leader, it will fail. Ego satisfaction, financial gain, and status can all be valuable tools for a leader, but if they become the only motivations, they will eventually destroy a leader. Only when service for a common good is the primary purpose are you truly leading.” ~ Sheila Murray Bethel, Making a Difference: 12 Qualities That Make You a Leader.

“Few people are successful unless other people want them to be.” ~ Charlie Brown

“We are here to add what we can to, not get what we can from life.” ~ Sir William Osler

“People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“Being a leader who serves is very different from being a servant leader.” ~ Isabel O. Lopez

“A leader lives with people to know their problems. A leader lives with God in order to solve them.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“Servant-leadership is more than a concept, it is a fact. Any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see herself or himself as a servant of that group and will act
accordingly.” ~ M. Scott Peck

“A person who is worthy of being a leader wants power not for himself, but in order to be of service.” ~ US Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr.

“There is no more noble occupation in the world than to assist another human being to help someone succeed.” ~ Alan Loy McGinnis

“To help others become something that they could never on their own become, is putting value into that other person.” ~ Unknown

“My research debunks the myth that many people seem to have . . . that you become a leader by fighting your way to the top. Rather, you become a leader by helping others to the top. Helping your employees is as important, and many times more so, than trying to get the most work out of them.” ~ William Cohen, The Stuff of Heroes: The Eight Universal Laws of Leadership.

“You will find yourself in service to your fellow man, your country, and your God.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes nor to make a great show in the world, not a name. There is but one just use of power and it is to serve people.” ~ US President George Bush

“Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” ~ Marian Anderson

“The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve the leader, but the number of people served by the leader.” ~ Adapted from a quote by John C. Maxwell.

“Whatever our career may be, true leadership means to receive power from God and to use it under Gods rule to serve people in Gods way.” ~ Leighton Ford

“As leaders shift their focus to customers and quality, they realize that the old authoritarian leadership style does not work anymore. To achieve quality, service, and rapid response, leaders must utilize all available talent. They must find ways to inspire, involve, and empower employees. They must create a work environment that encourages commitment, innovation, and cooperation. Instead of evaluating, leaders now coach. Instead of doing, they delegate. Instead of telling, they facilitate. No one is expected to boss anyone. Everyone is expected to participate.” ~ Dr. Suzanne Willis Zoglio in The Participative Leader, p. v.

“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.” ~ William Arthur Ward

“The most valuable “currency” of any organization is the initiative and creativity of its members. Every leader has the solemn moral responsibility to develop these to the maximum in all his people. This is the leader’s highest priority.” ~ W. Edwards Deming in Principle Centred Leadership.

“Life is a place of service. Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” ~ Leo Tolstoy

“No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.” ~ US President Calvin Coolidge

“At Western [Baptist College] we help students prepare to make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ as servant leaders who are informed Christians, competent thinkers and effective communicators. We have a reason to be in business and we know what it is! AND sometimes that clarity of purpose even drives us to heroic activity.” ~ Julie Jantzi Vice President for Academic Affairs, Western Baptist College,
Salem, Oregon

“A Godly Leader finds strength by realizing his weakness, finds authority by being under authority, finds direction by laying down his own plans, finds vision by seeing the needs of others, finds credibility by being an example, finds loyalty by expressing compassion, finds honor by being faithful, finds greatness by being a servant.” ~ Roy Lessin

“No leader can possibly have all the answers . . . .The actual solutions about how best to meet the challenges of the moment have to be made by the people closest to the action. . . .The leader has to find the way to empower those frontline people, to challenge them, to provide them with the resources they need, and then to hold them accountable. As they struggle with . . . this challenge, the leader becomes their coach, teacher, and facilitator. Change how you define leadership, and you change how you run a company.” ~ Steve Miller, Group Managing Director, Royal Dutch/Shell.

by Graham Kendrick
(Based on Philippians 2:4-8; Matthew 26:39; Isaiah 53:7; Ephesians 6:7)
From heaven You came, helpless Babe, Entered our world, Your glory veiled; Not to be served, but to serve, And give Your life that we might live. This is our God, the Servant King, He calls us now to follow Him; To bring our lives as a daily offering Of worship to the Servant King. There in the garden of tears, My heavy load He chose to bear; His heart with sorrow was torn, “Yet not My will, but Yours,” He said. Come, see His hands and His feet, The scars that speak of sacrifice, Hands that flung stars into space, To cruel nails surrendered. So let us learn how to serve, And in our lives enthrone Him; Each other’s needs to prefer, For it is Christ we’re serving.

“Few things will pay you bigger dividends than the time and trouble you take to understand people. Almost nothing will add more to your stature as an executive and a person. Nothing will give you greater satisfaction or bring you more happiness.” ~ Kienzle and Dare In Climbing the Executive Ladder
Researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership say that “insensitivity to others” in the primary reason why successful executives tumble off the track to the executive suite. ~ McCall and Lombardo, Off the Track

“Studies of unsuccessful executives portray people as loners — managers who prefer to work independently, who are highly critical of their staff, and who are unwilling to share control of projects and problem solutions. Unsuccessful executives generally view team participation and discussion an a waste of time and have poor interpersonal skills, according to these studies; they’re ill at ease with others, frequently making intensitive and undiplomatic remarks, and they look on other people with a great deal of mistrust. Managers who focus on themselves and are insensitive to others fail, because there’s a limit to what they can do by themselves. Those leaders who succeed realize that little can be accomplished if people don’t feel strong and capable. In fact, by using their own power in service of others rather than in service of self, successful leaders transform their constituents into leaders themselves — and wind up with extraordinary results.” ~ Kouzes and Posner, The Leadership Challenge, pp. 190-91.

“Servant-leadership is more than a concept, it is a fact. Any great leader, by which I also mean an ethical leader of any group, will see herself or himself as a servant of that group and will act accordingly.” ~ M. Scott Peck


“It its through my experiences as a Servant Leader that I have grown as a human being. I stand before you a stronger and more compassionate leader. One valuable lesson I have learned is this: Happiness is not something to be pursued – It is through the service and kindness of others that happiness simply finds you!” ~ Suzy Meyer, Highland Community College, Freeport, Illinois

“A new moral principle is emerging which holds that the only authority deserving one’s allegiance is that which is freely and knowingly granted by the led to the leader in response to, and in proportion to, the clearly evident servant stature of the leader. Those who choose to follow this principle will not casually accept the authority of existing institutions. Rather, they will freely respond only to Individuals who are chosen as leaders because they are proven and trusted servants. To the extent that this principle prevails in the future, the only truly viable institutions will be those that are predominantly servant-led.” ~ Robert K. Greenleaf

“Servant leadership is easy for people with high self-esteem. Such people have no problem giving credit to others and have no problem listening to other people for ideas. They have no problem in building other people up and they don’t feel other people’s success threatens them In any way. . . . Servant leadership builds self-esteem and encourages Individual growth while obtaining the organization’s objectives.” ~ Ken Blanchard, Convene (February 1998) p75.

“As you wait upon the Lord, you learn to see things from His perspective, move at His pace, and function under His directives. Waiting times are growing times and learning times. As you quiet your heart, you enter His peace: as you sense your weakness, you receive His strength: as you lay down your will, you hear His calling. When you mount up, you are being lifted by the wind of His Spirit . . . When you move ahead, you are sensitive to His timing. When you act, you give as yourself only to the things He has asked you to do. ~ Roy Lessin


Listening receptively
Acceptance of (and empathy with) others
Foresight and intuition
Awareness and perception
Highly-developed powers of persuasion
Ability to conceptualize and communicate concepts
A healing influence upon people and institutions
Ability to build a sense of community in the workplace
Practice contemplation
Willingness to change.

“Servant-leadership begins with the desire to change oneself. Once that process has begun, it then becomes possible to practice servant-leadership at an institutional level.”

“Servanthood is the chief modifier of the power implicit in all leadership – a quality of innerness, an attribute of soul that checks the corruptibility of power … Real power is always an exchange of leadership to use power to call out the God-given power of others.” ~ Bennett J. Sims in Servanthood pp. 3l & 34

“Servant-leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you, you work for them.” ~ Ken Blanchard in “Servant Leadership” The Management Forum volume 4 number 3.

“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.” ~ Martin Luther King Jr. as quoted in Even Eagles Need a Push p. 109.

“The purpose of life is not to win. The purpose of life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people’s lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them.” ~ Rabbi Harold Kushner

“Leadership is getting people to help you when they are not obligated to do so.” ~ John C. Maxwell

“True leadership must be for the benefit of the followers, not to enrich the leader.” ~ John C. Maxwell