One of the more popular styles of leadership today is servant leadership. No longer can managers simply dictate what needs to be done and then sit back and wait for people to perform. They need to step in and help their employees. This is the only way they can maximize productivity and increase job satisfaction. With this kind of management style being so important, we felt it was crucial that we share our list of the 10 best servant leadership books on the market today.
What is Servant Leadership?
This is a leadership style in which a leader focuses on serving and empowering his employees without using power over them. So, here the leader acts as a good companion or guide for his employees rather than being bossy. Although this concept existed during ancient times, it was officially introduced in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf in his seminal essay ‘The Servant as Leader’.
The 10 Best Servant Leadership Books on the Market in 2023
Here are the 10 best books for you if you are a servant leader or want to adopt this style. These books are available on Amazon, and their respective links are given below each description.
So, let’s get started!
(Note: I earn a small commission when you make a purchase using these links at no extra cost to you.)
#1. Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results
By: Ken Blanchard and Renee Broadwell
Who It’s For: Executives who were first trained in conservative management
This book was written by two of the most successful business people in the world. Both are leaders when it comes to writing textbooks and training books. They break down the concepts of servant style for other leaders in this book to help managers work with their employees in today’s business environment.
#2. The Power of Servant-Leadership
By: Robert Greenleaf and Larry Spears
Who It’s For: People who have been managers for a long time and need to learn new leadership styles
This book was written by the man who actually introduced the servant leader concept more than 30 years ago. He wrote this book to teach people the basic principles of this style so managers can revisit their own management styles. Many leaders from the 1990s and prior never learned the concept of this style so a short refresher such as this one can be beneficial.
#3. The World’s Most Powerful Leadership Principle: How to Become a Servant Leader
By: James Hunter
Who It’s For: People who don’t understand that being the “boss” no longer works
Hunter wrote this short, paperback book to help managers who are having a hard time adapting to today’s business world. It explains why old-fashioned ways of doing business are no longer acceptable. The book focuses on specific ways to act like a servant leader and how to adapt to today’s current business climate.
#4. The Serving Leader: Five Powerful Actions to Transform Your Team, Business, and Community
By: Ken Jennings and John Stahl-Wart
Who It’s For: People who want to learn specific behaviors to change their leadership style
This book was written by the infamous Jeopardy contestant, Ken Jennings. He is apparently an expert in business as well. This book breaks down Ken Blanchard’s original texts on the concept of servant style. Blanchard is one of the leading experts on the concept of servant-transformational leadership.
#5. Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving
By: James Sipe and Don Frick
Who It’s For: People already in management positions who want to adapt to the servant style.
Many people who graduated from business school more than 10 years ago did not study the concepts of servant style. This book can be helpful to explain some specific activities to change from a traditional leader to a servant leader. As the title explains, the book will provide you with 7 specific techniques to change your management style and become more of a servant leader.
#6. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness
By: Robert Greenleaf
Who It’s For: People who are looking for solutions to specific problems related to servant style.
This book was written 20 years ago by the world’s leading expert on servant style. The book was written in the form of essays, each of which deals with different problems and issues. The reader can choose which essay is most applicable to their situation and look for solutions there.
#7. Servant-Leadership Across Cultures: Harnessing the Strengths of the World’s Most Powerful Management Philosophy
By: Fons Trompenaars and Ed Voerman
Who It’s For: This book is for people who may not be familiar with western business concepts, specifically that of leadership styles.
This book was written by German business leaders who want to teach non-Western business leaders how to take advantage of Robert Greenleaf’s concept of servant style of leadership. Most of the literature on this idea is American so a book like this is great, especially for companies and managers who are not from the U.S.
#8. Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for the 21st Century
By: Larry Spears, Michele Lawrence, and Ken Blanchard
Who It’s For: People who are looking for inspiration from other successful business leaders.
This book is a collection of essays from some of the world’s most successful businesspeople. The focus of the essays is to learn how to adapt to the new ways of doing business. Technology and the new generation have changed the way companies must be led. Therefore, experienced leaders wanted to share their techniques and stories with other managers.
#9. Servant Leader Mindset
By: Shannon Lee
Who It’s For: People who have had trouble grasping the concept of the servant leader.
This book shows experienced managers the data and figures demonstrating that servant style is the new way of running a business. A lot of business owners have had a hard time accepting that this is the way to go. They assumed that, over time, the old ways of doing business would return. This book offers proof that this is not going to happen.
#10. On Becoming a Servant Leader: The Private Writings of Robert K. Greenleaf
By: Don Frick and Larry Spears
Who It’s For: This book is for people who are looking to make a deep dive into Robert Greenleaf’s original ideas.
People who teach at business schools may not always understand where Greenleaf got his ideas for servant style. This book will help break down what Robert Greenleaf’s initial thoughts were close to 30 years ago when he came up with the idea of servant leaders. It can also help those doing research on management style.
(Note: The prices listed above were taken from Amazon while writing this article, and they may be subject to change. So, please confirm it on their product page.)
For those people who studied business 10 or 15 years ago, the concepts proposed by Robert Greenleaf were relatively new. They existed in theory but not in practice. Things have changed. Hopefully, the above servant leadership books will help current business owners and managers on how to adapt to this style.