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7 Critical Behaviors of a Servant Leader

You already know that you’re a service-based business, meaning that you provide a service. But when we talk about Service as an attitude, we are talking about being deeply committed in your soul to helping your clients solve their problems… not because it’s a way to make a living, but because it’s good for their well-being. And what’s good for one person’s well-being is usually good for the greater community.

There’s a term called Servant Leadership that is used to describe leaders who prioritize their followers’ welfare and well-being, leaders who serve their followers by providing for their needs and responding to their concerns.

This concept shows up as early as Confucious but was conceptualized by Robert Greenleaf around 1970.

According to one model of servant leadership, there are 7 critical behaviors that servant leaders perform. These behaviors were published in a 2008 study (Liden et al) but I’m going to pass them along to you in terms that apply to service-based businesses so they are easily relatable:

7 Critical Behaviors of Servant Leaders in Service-Based Businesses

01. Conceptualizing

This means as a leader, you utilize your experience and the resources available to you to help solve problems for your clients and for everyone on your internal team, including contractors or freelancers.

02. Emotional Healing

You are supportive of clients and sensitive to their feelings and ideas. Your goal is to be available, listen, and hold space for their concerns.

03. Putting Others First

This is the core of servant leadership. It’s not about you and what you have to offer. It’s about your client and how you can help them to solve their problems.

04. Helping Clients Grow & Succeed

As in all theories of exemplary leadership, servant leaders grow the leadership capacity of their clients—meaning they leave your program better off than when they started, and better positioned to lead their own clients, customers or followers because of what you’ve taught them.

05. Behaving Ethically

You care about others first and you always do the right thing, no matter that costs you (financially, energetically, or otherwise).

06. Behaving Ethically

By empowering your followers, you build their leadership capacity.

07. Creating Value for the Community

Rather than focusing on the outcomes for yourself, you care about serving your followers but even more importantly, the servant leader is concerned about having a positive impact on the larger community—your local community, your industry, the country, and even the world.

Okay, so you might be thinking that these are lovely values, but why do they really matter?


Well, for starters, if you want to attract clients who are kind, put others first, want what’s best for you, and want to impact their community and the world at large, then you have to mirror those values in your actions and your words. And trust me, those are the best kind of clients to have!

Secondly, setting high expectations and then living up to them is a great model for your clients and followers of what’s possible for them in their own lives. It elevates your vibe. People want to tune into that good-feeling, love-is-all-around frequency!

And finally, it just feels good. You are building a business to create a better life for yourself and to share your divine gifts with others—to make an impact before you leave this earth. Why not come at it from a place of gratitude, service, and community? That’s what love is all about.

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Meredith McCreight

Hello you! I am your your brand story sorceress, design divinator, marketing magician, and website wizard. I help womxn entrepreneurs make magic by crafting an authentic brand story and weaving it through the brand aesthetic, copy, online presence and marketing materials. My favorite place is the woods and I want to pet all the dogs. I'm grateful you're here and look forward to getting to know you!

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