Servant Leadership: Empowering Teams for Success

Kate Smoliakova
4 min readJan 16, 2024

A couple of thoughts that assist you in becoming a better leader and fostering the growth of your team

A couple of weeks ago, I was taking a walk while listening to a podcast about team dynamics. One particular phrase caught my attention: “servant leadership.” Although it came with a brief explanation, it immediately resonated with me as it perfectly encapsulated my management approach when it comes to creating efficient and highly motivated teams

Here, I will attempt to marry theoretical knowledge with my own practical experience in an effort to describe this transformative leadership style.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

At its core, Servant Leadership revolves around serving and supporting team members rather than exercising control and dominance. It prioritizes the growth and well-being of individuals within the team, ultimately leading to a stronger, more cohesive group.

To me, the pillars of this approach are as follows:

Empathy and Active Listening

When you meet your team members, it’s essential to interact with them to better understand how to build effective communication. Recognize that each person is unique and requires a tailored approach. Differentiate types of tasks to uncover strengths and weaknesses among your team members.

In Practice: This knowledge will help with task assignments and contribute to employee growth. Organize frequent one-on-one meetings, ideally on a weekly basis, to provide feedback, gain insights, and clarify the context of decisions or results.

Trust and Delegation

Building trust is an ongoing effort that requires honesty, transparency, and commitment. As a servant leader, you aim to be a guide rather than a controller.

In Practice: Trust is a two-way street, which means you must also trust your team members and delegate not only tasks but also responsibilities. By doing so, you empower your team to take ownership and develop into leaders themselves. Initiate the transfer of tasks and responsibilities gradually, breaking it down into manageable steps.

Safe and Open Environment

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Kate Smoliakova

Product Manager | Write about my experience as manager and writer, ADHD and my interests as running, travelling, art and food