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There are many different types of leaders in the workplace, from autocratic bosses who bark out orders to Laissez-faire leadership that allows employees a large degree of autonomy. However, the style we look at here in this blog is servant leadership. As online training in the subject shows, servant leadership can greatly improve employee job satisfaction, so it certainly offers benefits.

What Is The Meaning Of Servant Leadership?

When you talk about servant leadership, you're discussing an approach that involves working hard to help your subordinates rather than striving to achieve more control or power. So, when working on your leadership abilities as part of your personal development, you'll be prioritising the needs of your staff over your own for the good of the company as a whole. 

You can find a number of famous servant leaders when you look back through history, as Abraham Lincoln, Herb Kelleher (CEO of Southwest Airlines) and the Dalai Lama all fall into this category. The common denominator with all three is that they were people-focused. 

What Are The Qualities Of A Servant Leader?

Being this type of leader usually calls for a particular sort of person. So, in order to enjoy the long-term benefits this brings, you'll need strong interpersonal skills such as:

  • Empathy towards others
  • An ability to motivate others 
  • Strong, active listening skills 
  • Good persuasive abilities 
  • Foresight & Planning

Servant leaders are unselfish and prioritise the growth of the people they lead over their own professional success. They engender trust in others, knowing that the company will achieve more when employees are given the help and support they need to succeed. 

How Do You Demonstrate Servant Leadership?

Being humble is key to this approach, but what does it look like in the workplace? Well, for example, if there was an issue with team performance, an autocratic leader might simply say, "You know what the targets are, work harder!". Studies show just 21% of employees are happy being led in this way, as there is no support being provided - just edicts! 

Conversely, a servant leader would perhaps call a meeting in which everyone gets to be heard about the challenges they face. There may be hidden issues that need airing, and an open environment like this will encourage people to feel comfortable in offering feedback. The difference between autocratic and servant leaders is stark, as they're essentially polar opposites. 

What Challenges Do Servant Leaders Face?

Servant leadership works in many settings, but not all. In certain (but not many) circumstances, it might not be a suitable approach. As such - and in the interests of balance - online courses in leadership show that there are a few drawbacks to the approach. They include the following:

  • Employees can sometimes see you as a weak leader
  • Some people need clearer leadership and less autonomy 
  • The lines between staff and bosses can become blurred 
  • Decision-making can be slower 

That said, most often, the collaborative nature of servant leadership is the best option for modern businesses, as everyone gets to contribute. In fact, in most Australian companies, you'll find a blend of autocracy and servant leadership styles, providing both direction and support. It's all about finding a good balance that works for you. 

However, the more you feel that staff support and nurturing are required in your field of business, the more servant leadership will come to the fore. 

Become the Best Leader You Can Be With OCA Online Courses

Whichever kind of leadership style you employ, it can always be improved upon. The most cost-effective and flexible way to do so is through OCA short courses online, which are CPD-accredited (making you more employable), video-based for easy digestion and modular, meaning that it's easy to fit your learning around your current life and work obligations. 

At OCA, we offer a learning experience that ticks all the boxes, as you get not only captivating content created in collaboration with top industry experts but also ongoing support in the form of one-to-one mentoring and 24/7 tutorial assistance. Courses like those found in our Leadership Skills Bundle make the learning process so easy that many of our students get an appetite for more! 

You see, our students see ours as the best online education Australia has to offer in terms of all-around learning - something you can see for yourself by watching our Student Study Demo. To find out more about what sets us apart from the competition or to see our full course library that covers more than 20 different professional sectors, visit us today at

However, if you have any questions you'd like to ask us about what's involved in enrolment or anything else, either call 1300 611 404 or drop us an email at and we'll respond as quickly as we possibly can. 

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