Servant Leadership Essay: The Growth Mindset


Servant Leadership and Growth Mindset

Servant Leadership Essay: Introduction

There are different leadership theories and types. If people look around, they can see there are several leaders who choose different ways to manage and lead their followers. One of the most moral and effective types of leadership is the servant leadership. This is a leadership type where one person leads communities through serving them like an employee. They do not have personal ambitions; they want to achieve greater goods. One of the best qualities of these leaders is to have a growth mindset. They do not back down from hardships; they find ways to overcome them. This paper will explain three leaders who are recognized as servant leaders and also have a growth mindset. It is clear that these two qualities makes a person a great leader.

Explaining Three Servant Leaders

Albert Schweitzer

For many people, Albert Schweitzer is a doctor, musician, and philosopher who turned their backs on riches and pleasures to help the poor and needy. Albert Schweitzer, who is of German origin, discussed the dogmas of religion, which no one had dared until then, in the light of modern views in his "Historical Study of Christ." The most known feature of this doctor, who has left a mark on the history of humanity with many different features, is that he devotes himself to the good of society by giving up his pleasures and quality of life to help people. Albert Schweitzer, who started to gain awareness due to some events he experienced in his childhood, will later initiate a kindness movement by influencing the people around him with his works and mentality. Albert Schweitzer's mentality and leadership characteristics will be examined in this article.

Albert Schweitzer was born on January 14, 1875, in the town of Günsbach in the Alsache region, which then belonged to Germany and now France. The Schweitzer family was considered to be one of the wealthy families of the town. Albert had better opportunities than the other children of the city. He experienced events when he was a child that proved that he thought differently from other friends. For example, "You don't dare to fight me because I'm stronger than you," said his friend George, with whom he came home from school one day to Albert. So, the children who made a bet started to wrestle. Albert then swept his opponent off his feet, knocked him to the ground, and sat on his chest. "Let's see," he said, "Now, what are you going to say to that?" "You won," muttered George, "but if I could drink soup in the broth once, you wouldn't win. Albert could not respond to his friend's reply. He then did not drink broth soup at home, did not wear an overcoat, and denied the means that his other friends could not have.

Albert Schweitzer is not the most successful person in the world in terms of talent and knowledge. But he chose to use his existing skills and expertise for the benefit of humanity. In addition, he has adopted the servant leadership approach by completely ignoring his pleasure and ambitions. Unlike many other leaders who have adopted the servant leadership approach, he has spent his whole life helping people to the fullest without sacrificing his life.

This is what servant leadership is all about. Servant leaders have a higher vision or purpose. They can increase organizational performance by having a purpose-oriented perspective instead of being ambitious. Servant leaders might be considered as the machine of any organization or community. They get satisfied by the success of the whole, not individuals. As Schweitzer, they care for the people, listen to them carefully and share their knowledge for a better community. Servant leadership might be exhausting for the leader itself, but it certainly increases team culture and behavior. More than often, they become an ambassador or a role model for the team. For this reason, servant leaders like Schweitzer should be careful to make sure their organization is handled correctly.

Being a perfect example of a servant leader, Albert Schweitzer's dedication to the task also impressed many people around him. First, his wife, a nurse, and a small group of friends helped people establish a hospital in a coop in Africa. He shed light on humanity not only with his help but also with his mindset. For example, Covey (2006) stated the following in his article; Someone asked Albert Schweitzer how children learn. "Three ways. First, the example. Second, the example. Third, example." Nothing is as powerful as an example (Covey, 2006, p. 104). From this example, it is understood that Albert Schweitzer synthesized his influence on people very well and was quite successful ineffective leadership. According to Schweitzer, the will to live ethically is innate that commands every man to respect his will to live equally. "Therefore, ethics consists of my experience of life. The obligation to show all my will to live the same respect as my own." (Schweitzer, 1987, p.309).

Schweitzer is a great example what I learned; a servant leader is trustworthy, has empathy and foresight. They also believe in intrinsic values. From I interpreted, a servant leader does not lead to accomplish his/her own ambitions, they lead to achieve a greater outcome. They commit themselves and sacrifice to help others in a broader context. Servant leaders listen their followers, they do not decide on their own.

People need to see the bigger picture to become a servant leader. He mentions that servant leaders should become a role model for others to inspire them. They should look for ways to improve themselves continuously. But the most important thing is, they should care for their followers, and they should sacrifice and serve to help them however they can.

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa is a figure that everyone knows for her help and influence in the 20th century. Mother Teresa decided to become a Catholic missionary at the age of 12 and dedicated almost her entire life to Calcutta, India. Mother Teresa, like Albert Schweitzer, spent most of her life helping people and gave up her tastes and ambitions altogether. In this article, Mother Teresa's mentality and leadership style are explained. Mother Teresa, who was born on 26 August 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia, as the youngest of three siblings, decided to become a Catholic missionary when she was only twelve years old and spent her whole life missionary and helping people ("Mother Teresa," n.d., para.2). The Charity Missionaries Foundation, founded by Mother Teresa, continues its activities in approximately 130 countries with 4500 nuns even after her death (Gowen, 2016, para.3). One of the reasons Mother Teresa has such an impact on people is her servant-leader trait. She gave up her life to achieve a greater role. The only thing in her mind was to help people and contribute to the change. This is an essential part of being a servant leader. A big part of a servant leader's characteristics is enriching the lives of their followers. In my opinion, a servant leader is a crucial piece for any community that wants to be successful. They fulfill the role of a natural leader instead of creating a public image with a charismatic leader. Functionality and improving others are significant in servant leadership types.

This type of servant is critical for the success of any society. Without Mother Teresa and her foundation, there would be a significant deficiency in helping people. She supported the life of her followers and motivated people to help others. This is the textbook definition of a servant leader. We can see that she shared her experiences and goals with people, as her foundation now includes 4500 nuns. Influencing people is most likely the most outstanding aspect of this leadership type.

Michael Gomes, who welcomed Mother Teresa and her assisting nuns to her home on Creek Lane, expressed the power within Mother Teresa: "Sometimes she leaves the house at eight in the morning and even a drop of water in her mouth until she returns at four or five in the evening. Even when she was seventy, she was of the same strength and could work twenty-one hours a day" (Gray, 1988, p.26). This physical strength was perhaps due to the spiritual power she possessed. She had helped the poorest of the poor with all his best efforts, making great sacrifices that no one would dare to do. It required spiritual and physical strength to look after the hungry, sick, and homeless on the dangerous streets.

According to Mother Teresa, suffering was part of life. Thanks to this pain, people could have patience, kindness, and willpower (Poplin, 1999, p.37). She did not care about earthly ambitions and goals. She led people because she served them. What mattered for her was the ultimate good, and this is critical for any organization. This is a great explanation of a servant leader from my knowledge. She did not think of being a leader as a ruler; she found satisfaction in serving the community. Also in my opinion, for those who want to be a servant leader, Teresa's experiences and actions should be followed as well. Do not go after individual goals, create a better future and an environment for people around you.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs is the founder of Apple, known and used by the whole world. As everyone knows, the Apple brand, which is as interesting as the founding brand, has become a billionaire with the brand established in the Steve Jobs family's garage. Many people, like Steve Jobs, have made ventures, some have been successful, and some have not. However, he became a world-renowned name with his own story and personality traits in addition to the Steve Jobs brand. In this article, Steve Jobs' personality traits, leadership structure, and the effects of these traits are mentioned.

Steve Jobs, a person who has experienced quite difficult and financial difficulties from the first years of his life until the end of his youth, has progressed on success with an unyielding determination and a perspective that takes advantage of opportunities during all these difficulties. This is what is called a "growth mindset." He did not back down from any challenges. He did not give up because he had difficulties. This is something that every leader must have instead of a fixed mindset. Because people expect leaders to come up with new and improved ideas. Steve Jobs did the exact same. This is, again, crucial for any company's success. Seeing a leader thinking about how to overcome challenges encourages workers too. If the leader has a fixed mindset and thinks about quitting, others cannot be expected to be competitive. This is critical for colleague motivation, company development, and job satisfaction.

Additionally, job satisfaction is one of the most important elements that enabled Apple and Jobs to succeed. If people enjoy them while working, they will naturally be more prone to work harder and better. Jobs' charismatic leadership and growth-minded approach influenced its workers to enjoy what they do. To achieve that, effective communication is critical. Jobs managed to have excellent communication with his employees. Also, the money issue can be a motivator too. As you all know, Apple pays people good salaries. When the money is off the table, they can focus on their job and complete their tasks better.

Alternatively, Jobs was seen as a strongly relationship-oriented leader; that is, he was focused on increased performance based on human relationships. When Jobs took over, a new term known as "Steved" was invented by employees (Khaney, 2008, p. 33). One can say that he had a growth mindset to inspire his employees. This can be interpreted from the description of a growth mindset and job satisfaction. As people with these two qualities go; he increased job satisfaction by excellent communication, meaningfully set up goals, and stability. He created dedicated minds in his employees. This is a critical thing to achieve when leading a company. After all, as you can see, Steve Jobs developed leadership in his style and fascinated the whole world. If a person wants to improve his/her business by having a growth mindset and let their workers to have job satisfaction; they need to create a friendly working environment where communication is seamless. They should also have a growth mindset and believe they can overcome any challenges they might encounter with. These two elements are key to have a successful brand in the future.


Covey, S. R. (2006). Leading in the knowledge worker age. Leader to Leader, 2006(41), 11-15.

Gowen, A. (2016, September 4). In the Indian city where Mother Teresa founded her order, ambivalence about her legacy. The WashingtonPost.

Gray, C. (1988). Mother Teresa. London: Longman.

Kahney, L. (2008). Inside Steve's Brain. New York, NY: Penguin Group

Mother Teresa. (n.d.). Encyclopedia Britannica.

Poplin, M. (1999). The Global Classroom of the 21st Century: Lessons from Mother Teresa and Imperatives from Columbine. educational HORIZONS, 78(1), 30-38.

SCHWEITZER, A. (1987). The Philosophy of Civilization. New York, 309.

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