Embracing Servant Leadership in Your Relationships

Servant leadership is an especially popular idea in the faith community. Yet, servant leadership is applicable in more arenas than in the religious world. You can practice servant leadership wherever you lead.

But, you may be asking yourself, what is servant leadership?

Servant leadership places an emphasis on the leader to steward and care for the resources of an organization. They believe they’ve been placed in a position of trust. More than that, this line of reasoning uses the idea that leaders are servants first. They have to make the needs of their employees a priority.

This flips the script on the traditional leadership paradigm. The leader is no longer at the top. Their main goal is to serve others and help the organization thrive. 

It’s a bold concept. That works.

If it works in organizations, imagine what implementing servant leadership in your relationships could do?!? I believe, and know, that being a servant leader in your relationships is powerful. Instead of seeking out your needs and desires for your relationships, you look at what you can do to help others reach their goals.

Embracing Servant Leadership in Your Relationships

We can always work on improving the way we lead and serve others. Here are 5 ways you can practice servant leadership in your relationships.

Be dependable:

Want to be a servant leader? Then be dependable. This means you show up when you say you will. You get the things done that you’ve committed to. You offer support and care to those you lead and are in relationship with.

Doing this shows that you’re a reliable person. Someone others can count on. Make sure you’re showing up and being dependable.

Prioritize the needs of your partner:

We all have needs. We know that. But we like to focus on our own needs. 

What happens if you decide to start prioritizing the needs of your partner or friends? 

You become a selfless, not selfish, person in their eyes. They see you as someone who cares and understands them.

Provide emotional support:

Life is tough. We don’t always get it right and when we don’t, things suck.

Think about your partner or child. They don’t get it right, either.

Be there to support them emotionally in trying times.

It could be a strained relationship, a difficult task at work, or with a school bully. Make sure you’re showing and providing emotional support so they can thrive.


The world of leadership often tells leaders they don’t have to apologize. That’s a lie. Leaders need to apologize. Maybe more than anyone else.

Take the time to acknowledge when you’ve messed up in your relationships. Say, I’m sorry, write a note, or find another way to apologize.

Those you’re in relationship with will appreciate your kind gestures.

Encourage the goals of your partner:

You have great goals. Know who else has them? Your partner! Whether you know them or not, your partner longs to have their goals acknowledged and encouraged.

Look for ways to gently encourage their goals. You might show up at a work event, provide extra resources for them to try something new, or ask how you can help them.

What Does Servant Leadership Look Like In Relationships?

It can be hard to picture what servant leadership looks like in a relationship. You know the idea, but how do you actually do it?

Below, you’ll find three examples of things that servant leaders do in relationships.

Servant leadership example 1:

You’re a loving husband who just had a long day at the office. You arrive home and see your wife working frantically on a project. Dinner isn’t ready, but you are.

Instead of getting upset, you say hello and I love you to your wife. You head to the kitchen, take out the ingredients for dinner, and begin to cook. 

Taking the time to help prepare dinner shows your wife that you see her, understand her need, and are willing to share responsibilities. 

Servant leadership example 2:

A friend of yours has lost their father. You know they’re struggling with grief and loss. You understand and recognize the pain while they haven’t verbally told you this.

You step into their pain. You listen to their grief. You help them process their thoughts and emotions.

Servant leadership example 3:

In your child’s life, they might see their younger sibling working on homework. They think they see their brother struggling with it.

This child steps up and offers their help because they’ve recently gone through the exact same homework. They provide their experience and expertise not because they’re older or wiser but because they see the need.

You Can Be A Servant Leader Anywhere

Servant leadership isn’t confined to the office or boardroom. No, servant leadership can be applied anywhere.

Look at your relationships. How can you be a better friend, spouse, son, or sister?

You have the tools to be a great friends, confidant, and more by using the tools of a servant leader.

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