Three steps to becoming a servant leader

This infographic from Acuity Training lists a few ways that new managers can improve their management skills.

Servant leaders believe that at its core, leadership is about helping their people fulfill their potential.

Similar to Level 5 leaders they believe that a leader’s top priority is the people working for them. They aim to maximise long term output of their team though careful encouragement and coaching.

In general their teams enjoy higher engagement, greater loyalty / lower staff turnover and greater innovation, in many cases. This is not a short term strategy, its benefits can only be enjoyed once a leader has established a track record and reputation for this type of behaviour.

So how does a new manager start to establish this track record?

You have two ears and one mouth for a reason

Listening skills are key for servant leaders. You cannot understand and work with someone if you don’t understand what they are saying and where they are coming from.

Try to listen twice as much as you speak. Get into the habit of listening before you speak and give your opinion. This will demonstrate to your team that you value them and their opinions.

Holistic approach

Traditional leaders ensure that their team has the resources needed to complete their jobs. Servant leaders go well beyond this.

In addition they will work to make their team’s environment happy and positive. Building morale and engagement they go beyond simply enabling their team to complete their assigned tasks. They will look to deepen relationships and purpose with the aim of making a fulfilling environment for their team members.


Servant leaders are not autocratic. They persuade and reason rather than instruct or order.

They need to motivate people to take action as all leaders do but they do this through discussion and consensus building. Although it takes time, the buy in that they create for decisions often helps see project through difficult phases.

It also helps to surface issues that team members have far earlier in the process potentially saving huge amounts of time and money later in the project.

The transition to management is tough. For many people stepping up to their first management role is the toughest career transition that they make.

Being a servant leader is not easy. It takes time and discipline. However, it reaps huge benefits for those leaders that persist.


Infographic link –


About the author

Ben Richardson is the owner of Acuity Training, a Guildford-based personal development and IT training business. He was previously a venture capitalist and investment banker. He’s spent far too much of his life hunched over his phone while waiting for interviews and meetings to start.​


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