The Top 5 Characteristics of Servant Leaders Nonprofit Resources November 6, 2018

The Top 5 Characteristics of Servant Leaders

Are you looking to build a foundation of servant leadership in your human resources or leadership and development practices? Several new studies are available to help you build this foundation with your team.

Researchers Adam Focht and Michael Ponton shared the results of a Delphi study in an academic study that they conducted on Identifying Primary Characteristics of Servant Leadership. 

Here are the five most prominent servant leadership characteristics (that all scholars polled agreed on) – read the full list of 12 in the above link:


  1. Valuing People. Servant leaders value people for who they are, not just for what they give to the organization. Servant leaders are committed first and foremost to people—particularly, their followers.
  2. Humility. Servant leaders do not promote themselves; they put other people first. They are actually humble, not humble as an act. Servant leaders know leadership is not all about them—things are accomplished through others.
  3. Listening. Servant leaders listen receptively and nonjudgmentally. They are willing to listen because they truly want to learn from other people—and to understand the people they serve, they must listen deeply. Servant leaders seek first to understand, and then to be understood. This discernment enables the servant leader to know when their service is needed.
  4. Trust. Servant leaders give trust to others. They willingly take this risk for the people they serve. Servant leaders are trusted because they are authentic and dependable.
  5. Caring. Servant leaders have people and purpose in their heart. They display a kindness and concern for others. As the term servant leadership implies, servant leaders are here to serve, not to be served. Servant leaders truly care for the people they serve.

Looking for more? See The Ken Blanchard Companies poll here and signup for a free webinar by Dr. Vicki Halsey’s on 3 Keys to Building a Servant Leadership Curriculum.



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