Servant Leadership for Consultants

Christians are called to serve. Christ modeled servanthood throughout his ministry (Mt. 20:28) in such moments as the washing his disciples’ feet (Jn. 13:1-17), going with Jairus to heal his daughter (Mk. 5:21-43), and saving an adulterous woman (Jn. 8:1-11). Being a servant is central to the Christian faith and anyone professing to be a servant of Jesus is choosing to be a servant.

In his book The Servant as Leader, Greenleaf introduced servant leadership as a model to the academic world (Northouse, 2012), bringing to light a biblical principle for the leadership world to see. Servant leadership is unique in the sense that it begins with the well-being of individuals and insuring their highest priority needs are being met (Greenleaf, 2012). This approach, whether a consultant is a Christian or not, should be a cornerstone of any consultant’s approach.

Transformational leadership is a strong style of leadership for consultants to use because it equips the consultant to implement change unique to the client and empower the client to manage themselves differently (Block, 2011). Transformation leadership creates a relational connection that raises the level of motivation and morality in others by being attentive to the needs and motives in order to guide them in reaching their highest potential (Northouse, 2012). Servant leadership, though, provides an even greater potential for success for consultants.

Servant leadership employs characteristics such as listening, empathy, persuasion, conceptualization, and foresight in order to empower others (Northouse, 2012). Since consultants are outsiders assisting an organization, empowering clients to be self-sufficient should be a primary goal, and in order to accomplish this, a high level of trust must be established. Being a servant oriented consultant creates a trusting relationship by building rapport because the client is placed first over the consultant’s personal gain.


Block, P. (2011). Flawless consulting: a guide to getting your expertise used (3rd ed). San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Greenleaf, R. (2012). The Servant as Leader. The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.


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