Servant leaders are categorized as those individuals who are able to lead with a primary focus, putting the needs of other people before their own. This type of leadership usually extends beyond an organization’s environment to reach everyone who is associated with it, such as stakeholders and customers, with “serving others” being its typical leadership trait. Here are some of the most famous servant leaders who provided the best examples to follow:
Martin Luther King, Jr.
King did not always want to be the leader of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, but he just knew that there was a need for equality. By putting other people’s needs first, he was able to leave a lasting legacy, which proves that anyone can make a difference through a humble and serving perspective. Until today, some of King’s speeches are still listened to regularly, as people see them as having a ring of truth.
Standing before his people, Mandela said that he was a humble servant with a passion for his people and the desire to see them enjoy equality. Sometimes, he would take his speeches to the streets, putting his personal well-being at risk, and at other times, he endured harsh conditions in prison just to make his statements heard.
Gandhi was bound to be dangerous when he opposed the British ruling officials during his time, but he strongly believed that serving others would be the best way to lose oneself. His protests were peaceful, where he often did it through logical discourse and fasting. Eventually, his ideas won out, freeing India from colonialism. Even if his goal was not to become famous, he was then widely regarded for his work.
Through her faith, Mother Teresa dedicated her life to serving other people. Like other servant leaders, she had her critics from time to time, but there was no one who could question her motives behind her desire to help others. Also, she never sought personal recognition, though she insisted on significant changes and was not afraid to express opinions that others would hesitate to say. Eventually, many call her to become a saint, with a life that many people consider as a miracle.
Taking his faith very literally, Schweitzer took the words of Christ seriously and was determined to love other people as best as he could to a point where he served in numerous ways. At one point in his life, he and his wife catered to thousands of patients in Africa, even having to travel hundreds of miles sometimes just to get to one patient.
While it does not mean that all servant leaders have to die while engaging in their leadership activities, they do typically make some sacrifices for the benefit of those they want to serve. Those who are listed above are not the only servant leaders out there; as there are countless others who just do not like themselves to be heard of, which is how servant leaders typically like it.
Keith Miller has over 25 years experience as a CEO and serial entrepreneur. As an entreprenuer, he has founded several multi-million dollar companies. As a writer, Keith's work has been mentioned in CIO Magazine, Workable, BizTech, and The Charlotte Observer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send our content editing team a message here.