How to Develop Servant Leaders in Your Organization

How to Develop Servant Leaders in Your Organization
Thomas Thompson
April 12, 2022
min read
“I want to be a Servant Leader.  I want to develop a Servant Leadership Culture.”

Many CEO's are exploring how servant leadership aligns with their broader strategies.  How they can build a culture that is geared towards organizational performance and a collaborative, healthy culture.

But what will that actually take?

While servant leadership has been around for a long time (Jesus had a more than a few comments on the subject), the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in an essay that he first published in 1970. Greenleaf said:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. --Robert K. Greenleaf

These are the leaders we want to work for.  These are the leaders we want to work with.  These are the leaders we want to work towards becoming.

And yet, we will FAIL to serve others if we do not first serve OURSELVES.

It starts with YOU.  It starts with this:  How do I show up as my best self to serve others? 

If we do not know the answer to that question, we will NOT show up as our best self.  We will be less than.  And that means our serving leadership will also be less than.

To show up as the best Servant Leader you can be, start with being the best Steward Leader you can be.

In other words, steward this question with intensity and intentionality: How do I show up as my best self to serve others? 

I direct clients towards the 8 Dimensions of Wellness.  To hold up their lives to the scrutiny of Wellness, and identify areas where they are–and are not–stewarding their wellness well.

The 8 Dimensions of Wellness (as defined by SAMSHA) are:

  1. Emotional:  I am coping effectively with life and relationships.
  2. Spiritual:  I am expanding my sense of purpose and meaning in life.
  3. Intellectual:  I am finding ways to grow my knowledge and skills.
  4. Physical:  I recognize and respond to my need for physical activity, diet, and sleep.
  5. Occupational:  I find personal satisfaction and enrichment derived from my work.
  6. Financial:  I am satisfied with my current and future financial situations.
  7. Environmental: I engage in pleasant/stimulating environments that support well being.
  8. Social:  I am developing a sense of connection, belonging, and a support system.

The J. Flowers Health Institute has a handy Wellness Worksheet you can use to walk through these 8 dimensions, using these great questions:


  • Am I able to express and communicate my feelings?
  • Am I able to adapt to change?
  • Am I independent?
  • Am I coping effectively with life and relationships?


  • Do I have a sense of meaning, purpose, and inner peace in life?
  • Do I trust other people?
  • Am I able to forgive myself and other people?
  • Do I have values and beliefs that I base my life around?


  • Do I strive to learn new things, skills, and exercise my brain?
  • Do I engage in mentally stimulating activities?
  • Do I have positive thoughts?
  • Do I spend time on personal and professional development?


  • Do I eat a balanced nutritional diet?
  • Do I exercise at least three times a week?
  • Do I use alcohol or other substances safely?
  • Am I at healthy weight?


  • What tasks at work or school do I enjoy?
  • What tasks do I dislike at work or school?
  • Do I communicate well with co-workers or other students?
  • Have I set realistic career goals, and am I making progress towards them?


  • Do I have a budget and am I able to save money?
  • Does my behavior reflect my beliefs and values about money?
  • Am I using my money wisely?
  • Do I have financial goals and plans for the future?


  • Do I know which environments at work best focus my energy?
  • Do I know which environments at home best focus my presence and restoration?
  • How do these environments reflect what I know brings out my best?
  • Where are there adjustments I can begin to make to bring them in alignment?


  • Can I resolve conflicts in all areas of my life?
  • Do I have people in my life that I can trust?
  • Am I able to set boundaries?
  • Do I have a sense of belonging?

Access the Wellness Wheel Worksheet HERE.  Walk through it, using the questions above, and assess where your wellness is preventing you from showing up as your best Servant self.  Then, identify ONE action step you can take to steward yourself well and move towards showing up as your best self.

As you begin to steward yourself well, use this principle with the leaders you are developing.  Create a culture where self-care and self-stewardship are not only allwoed, but encouraged. Drive towards wellness.

Because: Good Steward Leaders make the best Servant Leaders.

How are you stewarding yourself well?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I founded Thompson Leadership to come alongside leaders like you. Together, we will unpack your unique leadership, unearth your biggest challenge, and create an action plan to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
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