The 47 Best Quotes on Servant Leadership To Inspire & Motivate You

by Usama Khan

Many effective leaders strive to become better at servant leadership. Successful people know the true purpose of leadership is to serve their people in the best possible way.

Whether you are here to know what servant leadership is or get some inspiration to help you become a better servant leader, we have got you covered.

We have compiled 48 of the best quotes on servant leadership from the most successful individuals around the globe.

Read these quotes when you need time to reflect on your purpose or just want to know what successful people think about servant leadership.

These quotes will help you on your journey to becoming a servant leader.

What is Servant Leadership?

The meaning is clear from the name itself. A servant leader is someone who prioritizes the needs of their team first.

They do not think about what they need or what’s beneficial for them. Instead, they focus on serving their teams better to make things easier for them. A leader can instill values in his team through many ways, but a servant leader’s ultimate goal is to serve and not be served.

A servant leader is someone who leaves no stones unturned in empowering their teams. They give them the power to make their decisions and help them conquer their professional and personal goals.

Servant leadership has many benefits, some of which are strong engagement, better relationships, and a friendly work environment among workers.

Let your light shine as an inspiration to humanity and BE THE REASON someone believes in the goodness of people.”

Germany Kent, American journalist

Quotes on Servant Leadership

We have always got you covered when you need some inspiration. Read the list of servant leadership quotes that we created for you.

These quotes will surely inspire you to serve your people better. We also understand that change can take time. It’s important that you do not rush into things.

It is OK if you find it hard initially to make your leadership style more people-centric. You can always read these quotes for inspiration on your bad days. One thing is for sure, things will get better and you will succeed.

  1. “People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.” — John C. Maxwell

2. The servant leader believes that ‘my success is your success’.”― Unknown

3. “Servant leadership is all about making the goals clear and then rolling your sleeves up and doing whatever it takes to help people win. In that situation, they don’t work for you; you work for them.” ― Ken Blanchard

4. “You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”–Martin Luther King Jr.

5. “The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one’s capacity to lead is severely limited.” — Robert Greenleaf

6. “Of all the things that sustain a leader over time, love is the most lasting. The best-kept secret of successful leaders is love: staying in love with leading, with the people who do the work, with what their organizations produce, and with those who honor the organization by using its work.” — James Kouzes and Barry Posner in The Leadership Challenge.

7. “I’ll lift you and you’ll lift me and we’ll both ascend together.” ― John Greenleaf Whittier

8. “The miracle is this–the more we share, the more we have.” ― Leonard Nimoy

9. “A true natural servant automatically responds to any problem by listening first.” ― Robert Greenleaf

10. “The miracle is not that we do this work, but that we are happy to do it.” ― Mother Teresa

11. “But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.” ― Luke 22:26

12. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also to the interests of others.” ― Philippians 2:4 ESV

13. “A good leader cares enough to give his or her best people feedback…. And that’s how I’d describe my leadership: servant leadership. I’ve always been trained with the inverted pyramid, where the customer is on top.” ― John Donahoe

14. “Twenty-first-century leadership relationship dynamics are from the bottom up rather than the top down; from the outside in, rather than the inside out.” — James M. Strock in Serve to Lead

15. “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. Serve and thou shall be served.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

16. “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”― Winston Churchill

17. “The ear of the leader must ring with the voices of the people.”― Woodrow Wilson 

18. “Serving others prepares you to lead others.”― Jim George 

19. “Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

20. “Leaders don’t create more followers, they create more leaders.” ― Tom Peters

21. “Allow the way to your great work to be guided by your service to others.” ― Mollie Marti

22. “Make a commitment to serve the needs of the ‘least of these’ and give voice to the voiceless.” ― Artika Tyner

23. “A noble leader answers not to the trumpet calls of self-promotion, but to the hushed whispers of necessity.” ― Mollie Marti

24. “We are endowed with different kinds of gifts for different kinds of services.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

25. “The heart of the leader is manifested through service to others.” ― Artika Tyner

More Servant Leadership Quotes

The above quotes must have charged you up to become a better version of yourself. But our list doesn’t end here.

The truth is, everybody can serve. It’s just about what choices we make in our lives. And for most people, the purpose of life is to help others while continuously striving to become a better person.

Read the remaining quotes to broaden your understanding of servant leadership.

26. “There is but one just use of power and it is to serve people.” — George W. Bush

27. “The best leaders are servant leaders – they serve those they lead.” — Tony Hsieh

28. “Coaching is the most important servant leadership element in helping people accomplish their goals.” — Bill Hybels

29. “Serving others breaks you free from the shackles of self and self-absorption that choke out the joy of living.” — James Hunter

30. “Servant leadership teaches us that you have to lay your cards on the table.” — Warren G. Bennis

31. “The servant leader is a 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.” ― Robert K. Greenleaf

32. “If you’re truly obsessed over customers, it’ll cover a lot of errors.” — Jeff Bezos

33. “The companies that are successful, they start out to make meaning, not to make money.” — Guy Kawasaki

34. “The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” ― J. Carla Nortcutt

35. “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” — John Maxwell

36. “A great man is different from an eminent one in that he is ready to be the servant of the society.” — B. R. Ambedkar

37. “One of the topics I’m most passionate about is servant leadership – the greatest leaders recognize that they’re here to serve, not to be served.” — Ken Blanchard

38. “Leadership is not an affair of the head. Leadership is an affair of the heart.” ― James Kouzes and Barry Posner in The Leadership Challenge

39. “The best organizations regard the nurturing of their employees as a spiritual mandate.” ― Nancy Pearcey

40. “Good leaders must first become good servants.” — Robert K. Greenleaf

41. “A leader is best when people barely know he exists when his work is done. His aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” — Laozi

42. “The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” — Ken Blanchard

43. “Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.” — H. Jackson Browne, Jr.

44. “Bosses push, Leaders pull. Real leadership is servant leadership.” — Dave Ramsey

45. “Leadership should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.” — Marian Anderson

46. “Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” — Shirley Chisholm

47. “Slaves do what others want. Servants do what others need.” — James Hunter


A prominent leader is one who finds the best in people and encourages them to be the best versions of themselves. They do this by serving their people better and inspiring them to make a positive change.

If you are someone who has similar goals, adopting the servant leadership style is the right option for you.

You can always come back here to read these quotes again for some inspiration. If you enjoyed reading them, consider sharing this article with a friend who might be interested in servant leadership. Or read these leadership practices to help you become an even more effective leader.

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