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  • Writer's pictureDr. Vera Alves

Servant Leadership: Developing the building blocks for success - Part 2

What difference does a servant leader make? Servant leaders feel responsible for helping their teams learn and grow while ensuring the entire organization is focused on those they are designed to serve.[1] These leaders invest in people to help them feel motivated, energized, and engaged while developing a strong sense of purpose. Consequently, their teams will frequently contribute at a high level and go the extra mile for their leader. Different business experts have found this leadership style useful, including Peter Drucker, Stephen Covey, and Peter Senge.

In part one of this two-part series, we investigated Listening and Commitment to Growth, two characteristics of servant leaders. In this series’ final installment, we invite you to reflect on two additional aspects: Foresight and Conceptualization. [2]


For servant leaders, foresight is the basis upon which calculated decisions are made. In most important decisions, there is always an information gap. Leaders need to learn from past lessons, understand the present situation, and wisely predict the consequences of decisions for the future. They need “to be able to foresee the unforeseeable.” [3]

Tips for Foresight:

  • Gather as much existing data as possible for any business decision and use it to influence decisions.

  • Listen to those who have been there before you or might have better insights.

  • Trust in your own knowledge base and apply what you know to decision-making.

  • Be open to feedback and encourage those around you to share their expertise.


Servant leaders invest in developing a balance between day-to-day operational focus and more conceptual, strategic thinking. They are visionaries with the capability of looking at a given problem from a more abstract perspective. Instead of being dragged by short-term operational objectives, they can stretch their thinking “to encompass broader-based conceptual thinking.” 3

Tips for Conceptualization:

  • Develop the discipline and practice to focus on short-term objectives and a more visionary concept for your organization.

  • Dedicate time during your week to intentionally exercise more strategic thinking.

  • Promote more conceptual discussions within your company, particularly involving the senior management team.

  • Keep up to date with trends in your industry and significant movements in the economy that might affect your company in the long term. HBR articles and participating in discussion forums are a great place to start.

How much time have you invested in the development of a more strategic perspective recently? What other tips could you share on how to develop these abilities? Leave a comment here or send us an email at

Vera Alves is the Chief Consulting Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience in leadership development and business management. With over 12 years of experience as a C-suite executive, Vera is highly skilled in the areas of leadership, strategic planning, operations management, organizational behavior, and change management. She possesses highly developed communication, training, and linguistic skills reflective of a strong and charismatic leadership style.

_________________________________________________________________________ [1] Keith, K. M. (2008) The Key Practices of Servant-Leaders. Available from [2] Spears, L. C. (2010). Character and Servant Leadership: Ten Characteristics of Effective, Caring Leaders, The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, Vol. 1 Iss. 1, 2010, 25-30. Available from [3] Greenleaf, R. K. (1977). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. New York: Paulist Press.

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